Help for getting a good night’s sleep

Director of Workplace Development, Annette Hill, writes on the importance of sleep for health

Our Director of Workplace Development, Annette Hill, writes on the importance of sleep for health – and how to achieve a good night’s sleep….

‘Sleep is not an optional luxury. It’s a non-negotiable biological necessity’ – Russell Beck, Director of Inspiration at ImagineThinkDo.

In the first two of our weekly wellbeing blogs, we focused on how people respond to uncertainty and on coping during the Covid-19 crisis. One of the things a lot of people are saying they’re experiencing more than usual is poor sleep, whether this is trouble getting to sleep, anxiety dreams or lying awake worrying.

In our first blog, we linked a resource we have shared before ‘How to sleep better at night’. Here, we build on this and share some other resources, because sleep is so critical to our emotional and physical wellbeing – even more so when we are expected to cope with and adapt to a completely new and ever-changing situation.

A white paper by Russell Beck (download), called ‘Productivity and Sleep’ states that just one night of poor sleep can make us much less alert the next day and up to 57% less productive. Lack of sleep can also affect our emotional health making us more likely to overreact to situations or to misinterpret the facial expressions of others.

The good news is that you can do something about improving the quality of your sleep.

Improving your sleep

You might be a night owl, a morning lark or a bit of both. What matters is that you understand this and try to keep to a regular pattern of when you go to bed and when you wake up. For employees of Hospiscare, the Health Assured app includes several resources on sleep. One includes a ‘Sleep Better Training Plan’ which, for the organised among us, includes a chart you can fill in to track your sleep.

Taking physical exercise can also help us to sleep well but more vigorous exercise such as running within three hours of going to bed can actually make getting to sleep harder due to the adrenaline in our bodies.

Other things you can do to help sleep, include no caffeinated drinks after lunch, limiting alcohol in-take and not having a heavy meal too late in the evening. But did you know your bedroom environment can also make a difference? It should be calm, quiet, cool and dark. Most phones and tablets have a night mode now to avoid blue light, which can trick our brains into thinking it’s still daytime. Especially at a time where the news can be very depressing and unsettling, advice is to avoid watching TV or looking at your phone just before you want to sleep. Oh, and set your alarm for the latest time you want to get up. Repeatedly hitting the snooze button and drifting back off to sleep can make you more tired than simply getting up!

Another Health Assured resource is this short video ‘Lifestyle Changes to Help Good Sleep’, which gives some further advice.

We hope that you find the article, the sleep better plan or the video useful, and most of all we hope you can get at least seven hours of good sleep every night.