The Big Sleep

I’m so tired at the moment. Melbourne’s weird weather has knocked me about and I’ve been having a run of disturbed nights. I’m fed up with blaming the moon or the poor unborn nipper I’m carrying about. I’m going to give him/her a complex.
Lack of sleep affects our ability to concentrate and make decisions – not ideal with things picking up at work after the holiday season. According to Sleep Disorders Australia, insomnia costs the Australian community over half a billion dollars each year in direct medical costs and up to 10 times that much in indirect costs such as lost productivity or sick days.

We all know that we need the elusive 8 hours a night, but what measures can we take to beat insomnia and get back on track to sweet dreams?

  1. Only use your bedroom for sleeping – it’s hard to relax when you’re trying to kip in your office.
  2. Try and get up and go to bed at the same time every day to help your body form a routine.
  3. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol, as these are all stimulants.
  4. Try and get a bit of exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk around the block after dinner.
  5. Get into twilight. No, I’m not talking about Edward or Jacob – creating a twilight state for at least an hour before bed will help your natural body rhythms tune in with the fact that it’s bedtime and wind down accordingly.
  6. Meditation before sleep can help your mind and body relax.
  7. Use warm milk, chamomile tea and valerian as natural alternatives to sleeping tablets.
  8. Perhaps an old wives’ tale but worth a go – soak your feet in cold water for 15-10 minutes before bed to draw the blood to the feet and away from your over-active mind.

For more information on good ‘sleep hygiene’, download a factsheet from Sleep Disorders Australia.

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