We all know that a lack of sleep can make you feel grumpy and irritable, not to mention an accident waiting to happen on the roads. In the past, studies have shown that those suffering from a lack of sleep or a sleep disorder such as insomnia are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression. In the long term, serious sleep deprivation can lead to a whole host of other health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes. At the very least, losing out on sleep has been linked to weight gain – and that’s never a bonus for your self-esteem.
Download Simply Being
This free guided meditation app allows you to choose the balance of voice (a very calming female) to background volume, as well as set the duration you would like it to run for. Despite the intended use as a guided meditation, taking you through a full session, we actually find it a highly useful aid for sleeping – particularly the night before a big deadline, when those inner anxieties are at their loudest.
Free. Available for Apple and Android.
Try Pillow Talk
SensAsia’s 60-minute sleep-promoting massage uses lavender oil and Chinese pressure point techniques to help soothe sleep-deprived clients to sleep. Listen to the sound of delta waves to help ease worries and anxieties and restore a sense of calm. Afterwards, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows (or ginger tea, if you prefer).
Dhs370. SensAsia Urban Spa, various locations including Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills (04 422 7115).
Create a device-free zone
Researchers from the University of Florida, Michigan State University and University of Washington recently found that not only does reading and using smartphones to send work emails late in the evening make it harder to get a good night’s sleep, but also affects workplace engagement the following day. While researchers didn’t establish whether there was a particular threshold at which smartphones begin to affect sleep, it was deemed that even use 30 minutes before bedtime can have an impact. Elsewhere, a 2012 study by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at America’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that two hours’ exposure to electronic devices with luminous, backlit displays causes melatonin suppression, which has the potential to delay bedtimes. For now, the evidence points overwhelmingly to the fact that use of smartphones and tablets late at night does absolutely nothing to help your brain switch off, so banning devices in the bedroom in the evenings could be the key to helping you get a better night’s sleep.
Quick sleep tips
Mattress firm Intercoil’s UAE community initiative Sleep Matters was launched earlier in 2014. The campaign’s top tips for a restful night include:
Reducing or eliminating caffeine, sugar and stimulants such as energy drinks and sweet foods in the latter stages of the day.
Not going to sleep on a full stomach – eat lighter meals in the afternoon and evening.
Having a wind-down routine before going to bed: eg. no work for one hour prior to sleeping, taking a warm bath or shower and turning the lights down.
Having a sleep schedule where possible – waking and rising at the same time each day, as one weekend of ‘catch up’ sleep is not always enough to offset the impact of a week without adequate or consistent sleep.
Using essential oils or a spray of lavender mist on the pillow, sound modifiers with white noise or ear plugs.
For more tips and information on Sleep Matters, visit www.sleepmattersme.com.