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The Sleep Cheat Sheet

The sleep cheat sheet - written by a sleep expert, Stephanie Romiszewski, Director and Sleep Physiologist at Sleepyhead Clinic.

The Sleep Cheat Sheet – Written by a Sleep Expert

Do you feel tired all of the time? Does it effect how you work? Reaching for the coffee a bit too much? The sleep problem epidemic in our society is costing our economy millions, if not billions (it's difficult to quality exactly how much not sleeping well impacts us - it is huge). Everybody knows what its like to have a rubbish night's sleep - but what if that is happening over and over again? Or worse still, what if you have forgotten what it's like to wake up refreshed, what if poor sleep has become normal? It is worrying how many of us think that coffee actually improves how well we work (it doesn’t) and how 'catching up' with sleep at the weekend is doing us some good (it's not). If I was to tell you that there was something totally free that you definitely have time to do (approx. a third of each and every day - no matter how big and busy your business is) that would make you younger, smarter, more efficient, less sick, more attractive, way better at decision making, SUCCESSFUL, happy?! Surely we would be chomping at the bit to get us some of that! Ever seen the film Limitless? The main character takes a pill, which does exactly that. Sleep isn't a pill, but it is real. And you are doing it wrong. Want a place to start? Read the below. Taken from my website www.sleepyheadclinic.co.uk.

This is a guide I use myself, as a sleep expert- this is the stuff that I know works quickly and efficiently (and backed up by the science). You won’t have to follow these rules forever – your sleep is a natural physiological process. It is supposed to work without you, it just needs to be re-set. 

1. Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier or later if your sleep is regular but you’re waking up groggy. We sleep in cycles from light to deep to other important stages. If you can hit a light stage when you wake up, you don’t get that horrid groggy feeling.

2. Once you find this holy grail, keep a regular wake time- even at weekends. Wake time regulates everything we do. If you keep changing it, all the processes your body relies on to function are disrupted – including making you feel low, reducing your cognitive function and making you eat more. Worst of all, it mucks about with your sleep drive so you don’t feel sleepy when you want to sleep at night.

3. Stop dictating when you go to sleep. Listen to what your body is saying – are you really sleepy (can’t hold your eyes open) or are you just feeling fatigued, like you need to ‘rest’? You need to learn the difference and build up that sleepy feeling before bed (even if it means going to bed late a few nights to start with) and soon you have a regular sleep time that won’t involve staring up at the ceiling wishing for sleep to come.

4. Sleepy but you need to be alert? DON’T NAP UNLESS YOU REALLY HAVE TO. It will reduce your sleep need at night. However, there are emergencies. The best way to get alert fast is to have cup of coffee, then nap for no longer than 20 minutes. Be exact. Caffeine is not instantaneous. It needs time to work. Combine it with a short nap and the effects should rejuvenate you in the short term. Do it regularly, and your on a one way trip to insomnia land.

5. Alcohol makes you feel sleepy but it also causes disrupted sleep as soon as your body metabolises it. Don’t use it as a sleep aid because these effects can become permanent. If you’re out partying, stop drinking half way through the night out and you may be able to avoid it affecting your sleep (along with reducing the hangover).

6. BEST thing you could learn: Good quality, short sleep is better for you than striving for 8 hours. Stop this expectation now. As soon as you let go of this notion, not sleeping starts to not bother you, and not bothering is the best way to sleep better. A small amount of sleep deprivation is actually good for your sleep. It helps reset your sleep wake cycle, and improves sleep in the long term.
If you, your staff or your clients are having problems sleeping or you want to understand how sleep can further support you, mitigate risk and make you more successful, contact The Sleepyhead Clinic.

For free advice and more tips on sleep visit @sleepyclinic

Sleep well Sleepyheads!



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