Yesterday we talked about trying to change your thought patterns to worry less and give your brain a rest from the stress.  If you’ve tried some of our tips then I hope they are working. Let’s now talk about sleep, because when you’re feeling anxious all day, the body has a hard time relaxing at night and giving you your proper 8 hours of blissful sleep, with just the right amount of REM sleep in the mix.

Inadequate sleep has been linked with many diseases and physical ailments including immune deficiency. And right now we all want our immune system to be in tip top shape. Your brain needs sleep as well as your body: anxiety and depression, impaired memory and cognitive function along with learning difficulties have all been linked to lack of sleep.

Even before coronavirus, the annual cost to the government of sleep disorders over $5billion! It seems we are one very tired nation and now the problem has been exacerbated by stress and worry over health, jobs and our loved ones.

Adults need 8 hours of sleep per night but the number rises to 9 hours for teens and 10 hours for 10 year olds. But with the online age, almost 90% of teenagers use the internet after going to bed and a third of our kids have behavioural sleep issues. This is a time when we need to not only limit what our kids are exposed to every night but to take a big grown-up step and limit it for ourselves too.

Here’s the magic answers:

  1. Don’t have any devices in the same room where you sleep.  Doh!
  2. Schedule the right number of hours per night for your age. Stick to it.
  3. Set an alarm on your phone to start getting ready for bed half an hour before you want to be asleep.
  4. Get in bed, turn off all lights and start counting sheep.

Of course the sheep thing doesn’t work – I know that! But there are many, many resources out there for self-meditation to assist with falling asleep.  And remember if you have your mobile in bed with you playing a guided meditation track or music to help you fall asleep, MAKE SURE IT’S ON AIRPLANE MODE. Turn the screen face down so there’s no light to stimulate your eyes. For a full list of tips for those who have trouble sleeping (like no caffeine after 3pm and so on) just google “sleep hygiene” and start reading.

If you really can’t sleep, you probably need to exercise more because, believe it or not, it really does make you tired! More about exercise tomorrow…

Be good to yourself and give yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep every night, especially now when you not only need to stay healthy but you also have to keep it together and stay calm for those around you.  If you have kids, step up and set a good example for them.

Good luck and good night!

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