Physician shares tips for sleeping better on World Sleep Day

Dr Scott Claxton
Dr Scott Claxton

MAINTAINING good and adequate sleep is vital to maintaining wellbeing.

It is as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Although sleep may be seen as non-productive time, an adequate sleep time (seven to eight hours) is needed to encourage wakefulness and be productive.

Sleep is a complex process that is controlled by environmental factors, especially sun light, and impacts on body function, such as hormone secretion, heart and lung function.

Sleep restriction, poor sleep habits and external factors can all effect the opportunity for effective and refreshing sleep.

Over time, the impact of poor sleep can then lead to or exacerbate other aspects of physical and mental wellbeing. Delayed bed time, the use of electronic devices known as ‘blue light’, watching television in bed, alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes can impact on sleep onset and duration.

This has an impact on daytime function and general quality of life.

Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea or restless legs syndrome can also impact a person’s wellbeing and contribute to other serious health conditions, such as lung or heart disease, chronic pain conditions and depression.

In a world of continued connectedness and shift work, maintaining good sleep can be challenging.

However, it is important to try keep sleep optimal. It should not be sacrificed.

On World Sleep Day, March 15, let’s remember that sleep is integral to our wellbeing and no matter how hard you try, you cannot avoid it.

Dr Scott Claxton

GenesisCare senior sleep and respiratory physician

Try out my top tips for improving your sleep environment, which hopefully will help you get a good night’s sleep.
– Go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning
– Refrain from taking naps during the day
– Go to bed only when you are drowsy
– Avoid caffeine and alcohol within six hours of bedtime
– Avoid the use of nicotine close to bedtime or during the night
– Obtain regular exercise, but avoid strenuous exercise four hours before bedtime
– Avoid eating a heavy meal late in the day
– Minimise light, noise and extreme temperatures in the bedroom
– Follow a routine to help you relax before sleep. Read a book, listen to music, or take a bath
– Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex
– Try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This will prevent “Worry Time”
– Avoid clock watching
– If you have ongoing sleep issues seek professional medical advice