National Bed Month is promoted by the Sleep Council and British bed manufacturers, who want us all to sleep and snooze in comfort.I’ve been thinking about sleep a lot recently. Over Christmas I ordered a new bed. All was fine until a fortnight ago, when I got into bed and heard a loud CRACK.
Thankfully it wasn’t my back, but my bed.
Relegated to the sofa, I had a few nights to struggle through until a new bed was delivered. Until then I did my best to keep warm and #sleep well, doing neither one terribly well.
It was a timely reminder of how important sleep is. The Sleep Council says that, broken beds aside, we’re sleeping less than we used to, with a third of us only getting 5-6 hours a night.
Partially that’s because we’re keeping ourselves awake. Some 41% of Brits still read a book before going to bed, 38% of us watch TV and all the youngsters out there are browsing on phones and tablets.
But we all know how debilitating it can be to be deprived of sleep. Even the bigwigs at The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agree – when they’re not fighting things like bird flu and Ebola.
The CDC says lack of sleep is bad for employees and employers because it leads to:
- Reduced productivity
- Making more mistakes
There are a couple of simple quizzes you can do to see how well you’re sleeping. One has been set up by psychologist Richard #Wiseman, who has also written a book on sleep called #NightSchool and has made videos giving people tips on how to doze off, including following his ’90 minute rule’.
Once you’ve identified whether you’ve got a problem getting your head down at night, why not do the Sleep Council a favour and take their ‘bed MOT’, which poses a series of questions to see if your bed is up to scratch. (I particularly liked number seven: ‘Does it make suspicious noises in the night?’ What does that even mean?)
Tests and beds aside, perhaps the most important thing we can do is to change our night-time habits.
Let’s give ourselves a chance to relax and calm down before we hit the hay. Don’t watch horror films or play high-tempo video games. Try not to stress over work or the week ahead. Give yourself an hour or two of decompression time.
We also need to stop treating bedrooms as sitting rooms – places we read, watch TV and browse the Web. Put your phone at the end of the room and turn the tablet off.
The expectation should be that when we go to bed, we’re there to sleep (or make whoopee and then doze off afterwards. But, look, if you snore like a congested grizzly, buy your boyfriend earplugs.)