Monday, 26 February 2018

How to be sleep wise

Getting enough sleep is vital not only to our physical wellbeing, but to our mental wellness also. Yet, according to research carried out by the Sleep Health Foundation close to half of all adults claims they’re not getting enough sleep – are you one of them?

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.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Love is for life – not just for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many of us are thinking of ways to demonstrate our love and dedication to those closest to us. But what happens after Valentine’s Day? Will your loved ones have to wait another twelve months before your next declaration of affection and appreciation?

Don’t worry, help is at hand! We’ve come up with some simple guidance to help you show people you love them all year round – not just on 14 February. Relationships are important, they help us grow and contribute to our confidence and feelings of self-worth – so let’s take the time to nurture them.

Every little helps

Valentine’s Day may be the time for grand gestures, but throughout the year most couples find it’s the little things that matter. With busy schedules and lots of people juggling home and work life, couples can soon fall into bad habits and start to take each other for granted. As this article shows, it’s those small, thoughtful acts of love that will help you avoid this. Taking the time to remind your partner that you love them is often all your relationship will need to keep on track. An unexpected text message; a note in a workbag; a little something left under your partner’s pillow are simple acts that take very little time or effort, but that will makes your partner feel great.


As we get older – and particularly when we have been in a relationship for some time – we all fall into patterns and routines that take away the spontaneity that we once enjoyed when we were younger. In a long term relationship or marriage, we often have specific roles to play and jobs to do which define our relationships. One easy way to show someone you love them is by consciously shaking up the status quo and surprising them! Again, the smallest of gestures will go a long way – taking the bins out when it’s not ‘your job’ or getting the shopping in for tea are great ways of surprising your partner, while also acknowledging and appreciating the role that they play in the relationship.

Take time out, together

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that when you’re in a relationship every ounce of free time has to be spent doing something fabulous – meals out, theatre, cinema... These are all fun pastimes and you’re right, doing things together can only strengthen the relationship you’ve got. However, sometimes all it takes to show someone you love them is the gift of time. We’re all busy people, so the act of making time to spend together is incredibly powerful. It shows your partner they matter more than anything else in your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s just half an hour or a whole day – carving time out of your schedule really shows you’re serious about someone and value what you have together.

Remember, the main reason people leave a relationship is because they feel undervalued and unappreciated. So, whatever else is going on in your life, take the time to tell those closest to you that you love them - a little bit of effort goes a long, long way.