Lack of sleep

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by Guest Posts on Tue Aug 09, 2022 9:18 am

Lack of sleep

I am going through a period of not sleeping well and when I count up the hours I sleep per night (and mostly interrupted) it is only between 5 and half to six hours maximum. Everything I have read has said you should have 7 to 8 hours. At the moment I feel fine although slightly stressed that my normally good sleeping pattern hasn’t returned – what would you suggest – any type of natural sleeping pill, or even seeing a doctor as yet I haven't taken anything? (Janice)
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Dr Sarah Gilchrist
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by Dr Sarah Gilchrist on Thu Aug 11, 2022 8:58 am

Re: Lack of sleep

Hi Janice
I'm sorry you're not feeling like you are sleeping well. Hopefully the below tips will help.

Sleep is entirely individualised. Most healthy adults need 7-9 hours but some may need a bit more, some a bit less. A marker of if you are getting sufficient sleep is if you are waking on or around your alarm, so at a regular time each morning, and feeling alert, refreshed and fully productive during a working day. If not, chances are you need a little bit more sleep.

If you're experiencing a phase of poor sleep its important to work out why. For example, is it related to a period of short term stress, a physical or mental health issue, the weather can make sleep difficult or is it something related to your sleep environment? Are you being woken up by noises/lights outside your bedroom etc.? Age will also have an affect too.

Here are some practical tips to help. Try one thing at a time. If something doesn't work, don't continue with it and try something else. If you have persistent sleep issues for 3 months or more (either trouble getting to sleep or regular night wakening's) seek advice from your GP. Sleeping pills should be a last port of call once you have exhausted all practical tips and excluded a sleep disorder.

Develop a regular ‘strategy to sleep’ that’s workable and flexible to your life demands
Have a regular sleep routine (time to bed, get up time)
Have a cool, calm and quiet sleep environment
Have a good sleep system (bed, pillow, mattress, bedspread etc.)
Avoid devices in bed/bedroom: minimise exposure to blue light
Limit late night exercise (i.e. after 9pm) and eat well throughout the day
Limit eating late or too close to bedtime
Seek daylight regularly
Engage in exercise/physical activity regularly
Try some gentle interventions to help poor sleep e.g. naps, cognitive behavioural therapy (see your GP for advice)
Limit caffeine & alcohol

Hope these tips help and you get some improved sleep soon.
Dr Sarah Gilchrist
Specialist in sleep and athletic performance ... -gilchrist

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