Sleep: Not enough can trigger serious conditions – how to get to sleep in four steps

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Sleep: Not enough can trigger serious conditions - how to get to sleep in four steps


Sleep can boost a person’s health in a number of ways, from improving immunity to helping you lose weight. Not getting enough can have a detrimental effect.

Millions of people suffer from poor sleep as a result of stress, their job and computers. But bad moods and lack of focus aren’t the only negatives that can occur.

Regular poor sleep can increase your risk of serious medical conditions, according to the NHS. These include obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Not getting enough rest can also shorten life expectancy. So how much sleep should you be getting a night?

A recent study revealed the right number of sleeping hours you should be getting.

The research, published in the journal Sleep, found people who sleep for seven to eight hours per night performed better cognitively than those who slept less or more than this.

More than 40,000 people from around thew world participated in the online study, which included an in-depth questionnaire, as well as a series of cognitive performance activities.

Adrian Owen, lead researcher of the study, said: “We really wanted to capture the sleeping habits of people around the entire globe.

“Obviously, there have been many smaller sleep studies of people in laboratories but we wanted to find out what sleep is like in the real world.

“People who logged in gave us a lot of information about themselves. We had a fairly extensive questionnaire and they told us things like which medications they were on, how old they were, where they were in the world and what kind of education they’d received because these are all factors that might have contributed to some of the results.”

If you struggle to get enough, what’s the best way to get your forty-winks?

Four ways Bupa recommends to get to sleep involve how and where you sleep and your sleep habits.

Bedroom environment

The health organisation says: “You need to ensure that your bedroom is comfortable. Having a bedroom that’s too hot or too cold can affect your sleep. Manage your heating and layer your bedding to find the right temperature for you.

“Noise is another thing to consider. Excess light can also affect your sleep so take steps to control it.”

Mattress

It says: “A mattress that’s too firm or too soft won’t support you properly and your back or hips may suffer. Aim to replace your mattress every 10 years to get the best support and comfort.”

Relaxing

It says: “If your mind won’t quieten to let you sleep, a simple way to combat this is to keep a notebook by your bed. If you’re having difficulty dropping off to sleep or you wake up in the night, write down your worries or the things you’re thinking about.”

Eat right and get active

What you eat and drink, and when will have an impact on your energy levels.

It recommends avoiding caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals leading up to bedtime.



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