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People at Work's tips for a good night's sleep

Getting regular, good quality sleep is essential for our health and wellbeing. Along with good nutrition and regular exercise sleep is one of the foundations of good mental and physical health. Experts recommend that adults should be getting between 7 and 9 hours of good quality sleep per night. While you sleep your body is doing amazing things, your brain is busy storing and sorting, and it is during sleep your long-term memories are created. Hormones are being released which help the body to grow and restore. Your sympathetic nervous system is relaxed and your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) lower. Your immune system jumps into action producing proteins call cytokines which help your body fight infection, inflammation, and trauma. If you are trying to lose weight getting enough sleep can play a part. Insufficient sleep affects the production of 2 hunger hormones which cause us to feel hunger and to feel less full. Alongside which if you are tired youare less inclined to exercise and more likely to reach for the sugary snacks. Create a routine. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day even on the weekends really helps. Dimming the lights for an hour or so before bed or closing the curtains in the summer can help your body produce melatonin a hormone which regulates the bodies circadian rhythm and promotes healthy sleep. Have a warm bath, read a book, maybe practice meditation or listen to some relaxing sounds.


Avoid looking at your phone or tablet for an hour before bed. Invest in an alarm clock so you don’t need the phone in your room. Blue light from your devices can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin. Also getting involved in a heated twitter debate just before bed is not conducive to falling asleep. Environment Is your bedroom a calming space? dark enough? clutter free? and not too hot? Between 16 AND 18 °C is the optimum temperature for most people. If you are a bed sharer and one of you is hotter than the other this can be a problem, you can try having separate duvets or blankets of varying thickness and that might also resolve the problem of the duvet hogger!

Food and Drink

If you find it difficult to get to sleep then try cutting out caffeine after lunchtime. Eating a large meal shortly before bed can cause heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux keeping you awake. Experts recommend you allow at least 3 hours for a meal to digest. If you don’t already maybe you could have your main meal at lunchtime? Alcohol can impact on your sleep, you may find it relaxes you initially and helps you to drift off but then have a bad quality of sleep waking frequently. Avoid drinking too much liquid an hour or two before bed if you are frequently waking to urinate.

Exercise Regular physical activity is another essential for good health and can also help you to get a good night’s sleep, however for some people the rush of hormones they get for a few hours after a run or exercise class can make it hard for them to get to sleep. In this case you may need to plan your exercise earlier in the day


If you are stressed you are likely to find it harder to get to sleep and stay asleep, in turn lack of good quality sleep can result in higher levels of cortisol in the body causing us to feel more stressed creating a cycle. Sometimes it helps to write down what is causing you stress or even a to do list for the next day so that you don’t have to keep it in your head. Mindfulness, and meditation or using an app such as Calm or Headspace can help. Drinking alcohol or taking sleeping pills might help in the short term but are not a recommended long term solution. You can also address the cause of your stress by talking it through with someone either a friend or a professional.

Talk to a People at Work first responder and find out how we can be part of your wellbeing support. 020 3286 1545

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