Getting a good night's sleep
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Sleep | Getting a good night's sleep | Scoop.it
Menu Good sleep guide Sleep is vitally important and is needed daily by our body and mind to remain healthy. Poor sleep can negatively affect mood and energy, concentration and leave you feeling unable to function. In the long-term, lack of sleep can also lead to health problems, so we need to do all we can to sleep well. Sleep consists of different phases and a whole cycle of these various phases lasts around 1½ hours. A good night’s sleep consists of 5-6 cycles, so most adults need 7½-9 hours a night as a minimum to feel adequately rested and able to function well. Sleeping environment It is essential that your bedroom provides a comfortable environment which is conducive to restful sleep. Your room should be the correct temperature to aid restful sleep. A temperature of approximately 16-18oC (60-65oF) is recommended for adults; a slightly warmer room is recommended for babies and young children. The room should also be well-ventilated. The room should also be completely dark to allow restful sleep – if necessary use blackout curtains or blinds, or an eye mask. Also avoid having a computer or television in the room; ideally all electronics, including phones and clocks with an LED display, should be switched off at least an hour before sleeping. Your bedroom should not be used like a living room or a study; it should only be used for sleeping and sex. The colour and décor of your bedroom can also affect sleep – muted and pastel colours are more calming, whereas bright colours tend to be stimulating and can disturb sleep. Smells can also affect your sleep, some essential oils can stimulate wakefulness whereas others can even aid sleep (but they should not be used if you are pregnant or there are young children in the room). Your bed Choosing a bed/mattress is an individual choice, but when choosing you need to keep in mind that it should provide both comfort and support – both essential for a restful night’s sleep. You should always try out a mattress before buying and should lie down on the mattress for at least 20 minutes to get a good idea of whether it is suitable for you. If you share a bed with a partner, you should always go together to check the mattress before you buy. If you sleep better when you sleep away from home, or wake up with aches and pains which get better through the day, it may be time to change your mattress. Try not to wait until the mattress is totally worn out before you replace it; as a guide, mattresses usually last about 7-10 years. Pillows should also be replaced regularly, so they remain supportive and hygienic. Information about choosing the correct pillow can be found here Good sleeping posture The position you sleep in is an important factor in aiding restful sleep; being comfortable and avoiding strain are essential and these factors are related to the position which you sleep in. If you sleep lying on your side You might sleep with your knees slightly bent or fully bent up in foetal position. In this position, if the mattress is too soft the body will sink into the bed and may cause back strain and pressure on the hip. This is also the case for anyone who has a large difference between their waist and hip measurements, or a person who is overweight. Side lying is often also uncomfortable for people with shoulder problems because of pressure directly on the shoulder you are lying on, or lack of support for the other shoulder. You should use 1-2 pillows to support your head if you sleep on your side, depending on your shoulder width and the pillow size and firmness. If you sleep lying on your front When you sleep on your front, you need to turn head to one side when lying on front to breathe comfortably; doing so places strain on your neck and chartered physiotherapists usually advise against this sleeping position, especially if you have neck problems. If you sleep lying on your back If you sleep on your back you should use 1-2 pillows to support your head, depending on your neck and upper back posture, and the pillow size and firmness. If you keep your legs completely straight this can make your back arch and cause strain. If your shoulder is painful when sleeping on your back, try placing a pillow under the back of the shoulder to support the shoulder in a more forward position. Lifestyle Good sleep habits are part of a healthy lifestyle and other aspects of a healthy lifestyle also help to make sure you get better sleep. Having a regular bedtime routine and sleep pattern will help you sleep better – try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Napping during the day can also interfere with getting a good night’s sleep, but sleep patterns do tend to change in this way as we get older. Shift workers have more of a challenge to get restful, adequate sleep and some useful tips can be found here. Eating healthily and exercising regularly will also help you to get a good night’s sleep; it is sensible to avoid alcohol, caffeine and large meals or fatty foods in general, but especially before bedtime. Making sure that you drink plenty of water during the day is also important; if you become dehydrated this affects your brain function, including the sleep control centre in your brain. Whilst regular exercise is important for general good health, it is important to avoid vigorous workouts for 3-4 hours before bedtime. Recognising and managing any stress and anxiety you may have will also help to aid your sleep; stress causes muscles to stiffen and can make getting a comfortable night’s sleep more difficult. Individual needs for sleep vary from person to person and the above is intended as general advice. If you have difficulty sleeping due to physical discomfort and cannot find a comfortable position to sleep, you can consult a chartered physiotherapist for specific personalised advice; other sleep problems can be directed to your GP.
ross taylor's insight:
Nice overview of how important good sleep is, and some simple tips on optimising sleep
 
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mHealth App to Focus on Post-Op Care

mHealth App to Focus on Post-Op Care | Getting a good night's sleep | Scoop.it

Using a $500,000 federal grant, UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health researchers are developing a smartphone app which allows patients to securely photograph and send images of their post-operative wounds to their doctor


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A step by step guide on choosing the right pillow for you - Pillow Advisor

A step by step guide on choosing the right pillow for you - Pillow Advisor | Getting a good night's sleep | Scoop.it
A step by step guide on choosing the right pillow. helping you to choose a pillow which suits your sleeping style (front sleeper, side sleeper, back sleeper), your allergies, your budget and to help with any sleep problems you may have.
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Sleeping well is vital to overall health and wellness
 
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