When we sleep, our body continues to work, hard. It resets and balances our brain function and fights off anything that threatens our physical health. Sleep is the way our mind and body’ refreshes and restores itself, so it’s easy to see why getting enough sleep is a big concern for many of us – and a major cause of anxiety and stress if we’re not getting enough.
We’ve taken this little quiz from the Guardian – you can see the original article here – to give you some indication of whether or not you are getting the sleep you need.
It’s not a sophisticated test by any means, but it will give you an idea about whether your sleep routines could be improved to give you the rest your body and mind needs.
In the last month have you had sleep trouble because of:
(a) taking more than half an hour to get to sleep
(b) waking up in the middle of the night, or too early in the morning
(c) not feeling well rested when you wake up
(d) feeling tired throughout the day
Score each of the following statements:
1 = not at all; 2 = once a week; 3 = twice a week; 4 = three or more times a week.
Take the average of your scores to find your total score. If you scored around the 2.5 mark, you are sleeping about as well as the average person.
But don’t despair if you find yourself getting less sleep than you’d like and that’s less than is optimal for physical and mental wellbeing, here are some simple tips to get you sleeping like a baby in no time…
Sleep at regular times
Your internal body clock gets used to a set routine, once it knows that 11pm is bedtime, your body will be more receptive to sleep at that time. Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep – so the best way to set your bedtime is to work backwards from the time you need to rise every morning.
Prepare to sleep
It’s unrealistic to think you can hop straight into bed and fall asleep. Your body needs to wind down first. Take a warm bath or shower; do some gentle breathing exercises; listen to some music – all great ways to help your body understand that it will soon be time to sleep.
Clear your mind
A busy mind is not conducive to sleep. Take a few minutes to write down your 'to do' lists for the next day so that your mind can be free of distractions. Some people find that writing a journal at night helps for the same reason.
And if these tried and tested method don’t work for you, have a read of this article from Psychology Today – written by an insomniac - and see if that helps.