How often do you get a really good night’s sleep? Now we’re not talking about a few hours restless slumber; we’re talking about the type of sleep that leaves you feeling fully refreshed and 100% ready for the day ahead when you wake. If you said “not very often”, you’re not alone.
Previous research by Aviva found that as many as 16 million UK adults (31%) suffer from insomnia and experience sleepless nights, while 23% manage no more than five hours sleep a night.
The importance of a good night’s sleep
Sleep is essential. It helps us recover from both mental and physical exertion, which is why it’s crucial for maintaining good mental and physical health.
When it comes to our work, a lack of sleep has been shown to affect concentration, mood and productivity, which means we are never going to perform at our best if we aren’t getting enough good sleep.
It’s a reality that impacts not only employees, but also employers and the wider UK economy. This is highlighted by research conducted by the Rand Corporation that found sleep deprivation costs the UK economy 1.86% of GDP, which equates to around £40 billion.
Health benefits of sleep
The benefits of a good night’s sleep extend way beyond just making you feel refreshed. According to the NHS, good sleep can boost your health in a number of ways, including:
- Sleep boosts immunity
- Sleep can help you slim
- Sleep boosts mental wellbeing
- Sleeps prevents diabetes
- Sleep increases sex drive
- Sleep wards off heart disease
- Sleep increases fertility
How to get a better night’s sleep
There are a number of ways you can improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, and most of them involve simple changes to your habits and routines.
1. Sleep at regular times
Very few people stick to a strict bedtime routine, but it’s actually one of the best ways to afford better sleep.
Now most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep each night. So you can determine what time you need to go to bed by working out when you need to wake up in the morning and setting a regular bedtime routine accordingly.
As you get into a regular pattern, you’ll find that getting a good night’s sleep becomes easier.
2. Try to wind down before you sleep
Winding down before you try and sleep is critical. If you try and fall asleep while your mind is still buzzing you’ll ultimately struggle.
You can wind down and relax by:
- Having a warm bath
- Writing a to-do list for the following day and relieving your mind of all its distractions
- Doing relaxing exercises, like yoga
- Reading a book or listening to soothing music
- Avoiding mobile devices, such as smartphone and tablets, for an hour before you’re due to sleep
3. Make your bedroom sleep friendly
Most people find it difficult to sleep when they are uncomfortable, which is why a good bed, mattress and pillows are a must when you want to get a good night’s sleep.
Here are some other ways to make your bedroom more conducive to better sleep:
- Keep your bedroom cool (between 18C and 24C ideally)
- Use thick curtains or blinds to make the room as dark as possible
- Eliminate noisy distractions (install double glazing or use ear plugs)
With poor sleep impacting our mental and physical health, mood and productivity, the importance of a good night’s sleep should never be underestimated.
I joined Premier Choice Group as a Healthcare & Protection Consultant in 2017, where I now look after the needs of over 200 clients nationwide. Prior to joining the Premier Choice Group, I worked for a large Private Healthcare Insurer, VitalityHealth, and managed SME and Individual clients across the country.