sleeptember Sleeptember – a new, exciting initiative running throughout September to remind everyone of the healthy benefits of a good night’s sleep. Like proper nutrition and exercise, sleep fulfils a vital role in keeping us healthy and happy. We need a good night’s sleep to ensure we’re feeling fit, thinking sharply and generally to give us the appetite and enthusiasm to make the most of everyday living. However, poor sleep and fatigue are common problems, affecting millions of people world-wide. Just one bad night’s sleep affects our mood, concentration and alertness while long-term sleep deprivation has far more serious consequences: it’s been linked to a number of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. If you’re a poor sleeper then why not set yourselves the challenge of changing your habits for the whole month of September.  Below are five simple steps you can take this month to try and improve your sleep:
  1. Create the ideal sleep environment: You need the right environment to get a good night’s sleep and that means a bedroom that’s cool, quiet and dark. For more information visit our micro-site
  2. Get rid of the gadgets: Smart phones, laptops, TVs, radios and games consoles all have a significant effect on our sleeping habits, making it difficult to switch off and wind down.  Exposure to even the weakest glow at night – eg, the notification light flashing on your mobile next to your bed – can unconsciously play havoc with your body’s circadian rhythms, keeping you alert when you should be sleepy.
  3. Invest in a new bed: It’s the foundation of good sleep. Research shows that sleeping on an uncomfortable bed could rob you of up to an hour’s sleep – yet the deterioration may be so gradual and invisible you don’t make the connection. Think about replacing your bed after about seven years.
  4. Routine: Try to stick to regular bedtime hours – going to bed and getting up at roughly the same every day helps to program the body to sleep better. Plus your body will love you for it.
  5. Wind down: Try to learn relax before bedtime. Meditation is a great tool for relaxing both body and mind – as is having a warm bath, listening to some quiet music, yoga etc. If you start to worry when you get into bed, try writing down what’s niggling you or things you need to tackle.
The quality of your health starts with a good night’s sleep, read our Good-Night Guide  for further insight into other ways you can help yourself. The Sleep Council could talk about sleep all day but if you’re still not convinced of the healthy benefits of a good night’s sleep then here’s the facts. Don’t forget to join our community on Facebook and Twitter.
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