Life after 40 winks
Sleep. It’s so essential, yet often so elusive.
How can you ensure a decent night’s sleep?As anyone who has ever suffered from insomnia will testify, life without sufficient sleep is miserable.
Dr Harrington believes it’s only by examining your Apart from leaving you feeling physical y fatigued sleep that you will be able to know whether you are and irritable, lack of sleep can increase the risk giving yourself the best sleep possible. Think back of developing conditions including diabetes, over the last few months, and answer the fol owing depression, high blood pressure and stroke, and has 1. How many hours sleep per night have
What’s more, insufficient shut-eye may leave you a I averaged over the last 30 days?
little less sharp, with a study from the University of 2. When did I last have a good night’s sleep?
British Columbia suggesting that even an hour of lost 3. How sleepy do I feel on most days?
sleep can cost one IQ point the fol owing day. 4. Does my tiredness stop me from doing
And let’s not forget the safety aspect. You only have to read the road toll statistics to know that a lack of sleep is a major factor in traffic fatalities, and it’s believed to 5. Does it usually take me a long time to fall
be significant in work-related accidents too. So, there’s no question that sleep is vital. Which brings 6. Am I frequently woken during the night,
us to the vexing question of how much is enough? and not able to get back to sleep?
According to sleep expert Dr Carmel Harrington, 7. Do I practise good sleep habits?
at, adults general y need 8. Do I snore?
between seven and nine hours per night, and contrary to some beliefs, this need continues well 9. Do I have any unusual sensations during
my sleep period?
Then there are those people (about four per cent of 10. Has my partner reported that I have
the population) who by some genetic fluke require unusual sleep habits?
less sleep, two hours less on average, and still appear If it’s clear that you’re not getting sufficient sleep to function wel . Don’t attempt to emulate them or you might have some sort of sleep disorder, it’s though – it’s a myth that you can train yourself to get important to start giving your sleep a higher priority.
by with less sleep. Getting less than you need builds To get help and further information, visit a sleep debt, which sooner or later will have to be or
The sleep stealers
A decent night’s sleep starts with good sleep hygiene, including an awareness of these common sleep disrupters.
1. Exercise too close to bedtime. This can raise your cortisol levels (a stress hormone that helps you stay alert), which can keep you awake. Leave three hours between exercise and lights out.
2. Eating too late. This can raise your core temperature, making it harder to fall asleep.
3. Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. It can take five hours or more for 100mg of caffeine to drop to 50mg. Alcohol may help you drop off, but will disrupt your sleep later, while nicotine is a stimulant. 4. Your computer. Dim lighting triggers the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone that causes drowsiness, but the light that emits from your computer can disrupt this. Avoid peeking at emails after 8.30pm.
5. Napping. Unless you’re real y not functioning, a nap too late in the afternoon can interfere with your sleep later on.
6. Light and noise. A dark, quiet room is important for good sleep. 7. Your alarm clock. You may need it to get up in time, but don’t clock-watch if you can’t sleep – it will only make you more anxious. Copyright Healthworks® 2013. For intranet use only. May not be copied, sold, distributed, reproduced in either part or full in any other form.
Life after 40 winks
Sleep. It’s so essential, yet often so elusive.
How can you ensure a decent night’s sleep? (Android). Hypnotherapy can be effective in helping those sleep habits, otherwise known as sleep hygiene (see A person is chronical y sleep deprived if they regularly get less sleep than they require. For most But it’s often the case that people with insomnia people, this would be considered less than seven have the best sleep hygiene habits, and the biggest hours per night, and it appears plenty of us fall into battle is in their minds. This is why one of the most promising treatments has been Cognitive In just over 40 years, the average nightly sleep Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a treatment often used by duration has dropped from about eight and a half psychologists for patients with depression or anxiety. hours, to under seven hours on weeknights. Relieving the anxiety surrounding insomnia can be And while il ness, sleep disorders and work schedules very effective. Take for example those people whose can equal y shoulder the blame for insufficient sleep, problem isn’t dropping off to sleep, but waking in it’s clear that the demands of the modern lifestyle, the middle of the night. They find themselves so including 24-hour internet access, are also causing anxious about getting back to sleep that it keeps them awake. Dr Harrington has found that simply explaining how sleep works, including the fact that For people who suffer from the most common waking at night for up to 25 minutes is normal, can sleep disorder, insomnia, going to bed becomes help relieve the anxiety enough for sleep to return. something to dread. Insomnia is defined as difficulty Dr Harrington believes CBT to be a promising tool in fal ing or staying asleep, and it affects up to in the treatment of chronic insomnia. “In the past one third of us. It is one of the cruel paradoxes of it has not had widespread use due to the cost of insomnia that the more desperately you want sleep, attending one-on-one sessions with a psychologist,” When there is no clear cause for insomnia, it’s cal ed However, she continues, “Insomnia lends itself well primary insomnia. If there is a known cause, it’s cal ed to online delivery of CBT. Research also shows that secondary insomnia. Such causes include certain medications, caffeine, alcohol, smoking and chronic online CBT programs for insomnia have a fairly pain. Personal or work stress, depression, grief, good outcome, with a majority of people reporting Visit the for links to online CBT programs or for more information. Treatments for insomnia vary, depending on the cause. The first line of treatment is to establish good when you wake up. Sleep Cycle tracks your movement and determines which phase you’re in and then finds the best time to wake you during a 30-minute time frame that ends at your alarm time. 5. Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson (Android and iPhone). Andrew Johnson is a clinical hypnotist based in the UK. In this app he guides you through a relaxing meditation, designed to aid you in your quest for a good night’s sleep. It promises to help you switch off the stress and discover an inner calm, conducive to better sleep.
Copyright Healthworks® 2013. For intranet use only. May not be copied, sold, distributed, reproduced in either part or full in any other form.

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