For Just One Thing this week we concentrate on sleep. Deborah Hunter is a Western Trust band 7 nurse who, when she is not helping out at the vaccination programme, works at the Health Improvement Department within the Trust.
As always, if you feel Deborah’s is the Just One Thing you need to help you as we progress through the final weeks of lockdown then, cut this out and stick it on your fridge and remember: We can all manage to do Just One Thing for our wellbeing.
Deborah identifies lack of sleep as a true modern epidemic worsened by the changes brought about to our lives by lockdowns.
“We are staying up longer to watch another episode of a box set and sleeping in longer,” Deborah said “but routine is the key.
“I’ve thought about the Just One Thing to aid a good night’s sleep,” she added, “and I would tell people to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.”
“Self-care is just plain and simply essential,” Deborah advises, “When you are sleep-deprived,” she points out “you have no energy, you have low mood, you lose your sense of humour, your looks are affected, you feel like you could cry at the drop of a hat and it feels like your life is hanging by a thread.
“What’s more, if you don’t sleep well,” Deborah warns, “the following day you crave sugary foods and drinks and the problem is perpetuated.”
Disruption to the body, or the jet lag effect, is created when a change occurs to your body’s settling and waking times. This can often happen at the weekend if an individual goes to bed later on those nights and rises much later the following days. The result can be equivalent to travelling across a different time zone.
A good sleep routine
Children and adults alike can benefit from a good sleep routine. Begin with perhaps a light supper of warm milk and toast or cereal, dim the lights in your bedroom, take a bath, or for anyone whose adrenal glands are under stress from caffeine, stress, sugary foods, or overworrying, soak your feet in a warm ‘bath’ of epsom salts, tea tree oil and lavender to relax and draw out toxins from the body.
Your body will begin to notice the cues you are creating to tell it is time to go to sleep.
Try to have your bedroom cool and dark and consider fitting black-out blinds. If you are anxious or over-thinking, keep a notebook by your bed and write down all the things you need to do or are worrying about and put it aside telling yourself that you will deal with everything on your list tomorrow.
While this routine may take longer for some than others, before your body is aware of the sleep cues you are developing, consistency, reinforcement and timing are the keys to success. Persevere. You cannot underestimate the importance of a good sleep routine for our mental and physical health.
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