With World Sleep Day on the 17th of March just around the corner, there’s no better time to remind ourselves of the importance of sleep – something which we all seem to underestimate. Not only does lack of sleep effect your general health, but also your overall mood, your appearance, and as more and more studies are currently proving, the economy.
According to RAND Europe, lack of sleep costs the UK economy up to £40 billion a year. “Over 200,000 working days a year are lost due to sleep deprivation among its workforce” – this comes down to absent days, and also low productivity at work.
On World Sleep Day this year, there are events, workshops and various celebrations that aim to raise awareness of the importance of sleep. There may be some low key events or school projects taking place in Harrogate, but something we can all do, is make sure to pay attention to our current sleeping conditions.
Consider your bed situation
Your bed is of course the foundation to a solid night’s sleep, one of the most important elements of which is the mattress. Mattresses are often tricky to get right, and many of us are unaware of our specific mattress needs or requirements. For this reason, companies that allow a trial period are always worth checking out. Take Eve for example, a mattress company with excellent reviews, which allows a 100 night-trial and free delivery, return and pickup. Get to know what type of mattress suits your body, especially your back – perhaps consider memory foam, latex or inner spring mattresses. If you wake up feeling stiff, you should almost certainly change your mattress situation.
Although most bedding preferences are of course subjective, the ideal pillow should support the head and neck in a natural position. Another important element for a comfortable night’s sleep is your sheet and duvet. Depending on what time of year it is, make sure you are the perfect temperature and that the material feels good on your skin – flannel sheets in winter are always a real treat.
De-stress before sleep
A large majority of us have a bad routine before bed: eating large portions of heavy dinners, staring at brightly-lit computer or television screens, working in bed and drinking caffeine-rich drinks late at night. However, there is no shortage of sleep-friendly activities to enjoy before bed: have a bath, read a book, meditate, practise yoga, listen to a podcast, or make a to-do list for the week. Relaxing before sleep goes a long way the following day and leaves you feeling spritely and fresh. The important part is to make a clear separation between your working day and your sleeping time.
Add some exercise to your routine
Exercise almost always ensures a good night’s sleep. Try to include some exercise in your daily routine – by fitting some in before or after work, you’ll feel the benefits almost immediately. In fact, maybe it’s about time you check out Harrogate’s brand new martial arts gym, or perhaps take part in some of the local community fundraising events like fun runs and bike rides.
Monitor your sleep
Sleep tracking devices are fast becoming a bit of a trend and can be very useful in figuring out the pattern and quality of your sleep. One of the great features available on most of these devices is the smart alarm, which promises to wake you during a light period of your sleep, leaving you feeling less groggy. Consider which kind of sleep tracker suits you best – an app on your phone, a bedside device, a watch, or perhaps a tracking pad for underneath your mattress. Regardless of what you choose, make sure it suits your sleep habits.
Written by Maria Ryan