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SLEEP TIPS BTrOiWtAaRinD’Ss B fEaTvToEuRr MitEeNTAL HEALTH “We spend about a third of our lives asleep,” says Tobin James, Tempur UK Managing Director. “Good quality sleep is essential to maintaining good mental and physical health. It’s as important to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing and can affect our performance, concentration, energy levels, relationships, moods and interpretation of the world. We can all benefit from improving the quality of our sleep. For many of us, it may simply be a case of making small lifestyle or attitude adjustments to help us sleep better. Together with the Mental Health Foundation, we have put together the following guide to help those struggling with sleep to form better habits in order to work towards improving or maintaining good mental health.” 1. Environment Make your bedroom a temple for sleep. That means a good bed that suits you, curtains or blinds that keep out the light, and a comfortable temperature – ideally a little cooler than the rest of the house. Checking your phone last thing at night or browsing social media when we can’t sleep… We’ve all done it. It’s a problem because the films we watch or the emails or feeds we check stimulate our minds and the light from a phone or TV screen can fool our minds into believing it’s daytime. 2. Attitude Our bodies release a hormone called melatonin that makes us feel naturally tired at around 10-11pm. If you go with it and head to bed as you feel tired, you’ll sleep better. Try establishing a bedtime routine that can help you recognise and promote that wave. Turning off the TV and listening to music, having a milky drink or enjoying a warm bath are good ways to rest the mind, and open ourselves up to sleepiness. Don’t lie in bed awake tossing and turning. If you can’t get off to sleep or get back to sleep, get up. Try a warm caffeine/sugar free drink or listen to some calm music for a while. 3. Lifestyle As a rule, eating less than two hours before bed means that food hasn’t had time to digest before we try and sleep. This can lead to discomfort and indigestion. Rice, oats and dairy products can encourage us to feel sleepy. We like to think that alcohol makes us sleep better. It may help us nod off, but the quality of the sleep you get may be poor. Exercise is great for mental health and regular light exercise is a good way to improve sleep. Exercise floods the body with feel-good hormones that stimulate our minds and bodies, so beware of exercising late at night as it can actually keep us awake. 4. Health If you lie awake mulling over concerns about your health, or the health of a loved one, you could try a relaxation exercise or mindfulness practice to help settle your internal worries. If tips like these don’t work, speak to your GP. It may be that you have an underlying health issue. “We’re delighted to be working with Tempur to highlight the importance of good sleep in preventing mental health problems” says Chris O’Sullivan, sleep expert at the Mental Health Foundation. “Modern lives place our sleep hygiene at risk - Netflix has even listed sleep as its greatest competitor - so we all need to take action to ensure that good sleep is the first thing we plan in our day, rather than the thing we squeeze in when everything else is done.” n


132_05_June_2018online
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