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Why We Need A Good Night Sleep And How To Get It!

14 October 2009

Ensure a good night's sleep

Poor sleep isn’t just annoying because it’s boring lying in bed looking up at the ceiling all night, it can also make us far more susceptible to poor health, such as catching colds.

A group of boffins from various hospitals and universities, all PhDs, recently carried out a study of people’s sleeping habits and their chances of developing a common cold. They basically injected rhino-virus up the hooters of 153 volunteers and then monitored their sleeping habits to see who caught a cold…

Surprise surprise, the conclusive result:

Poor sleep efficiency and shorter sleep duration in the weeks proceeding exposure to rhino-virus were associated with low resistance to illness.

In other words, if we don’t get a full quota of uninterrupted sleep, the chances of becoming ill increases significantly.  Not rocket science and does make perfect sense, because it’s when we sleep, many of our systems are reset and repair work takes place.

It’s not easy when the new born is screaming the roof off or the neighbours are having another late night swinging party, but we can increase the chances of better sleep by doing the following:

Avoid coffee (or any caffeine), alcohol, tobacco! (obviously)

These simulate the adrenal gland and increase the heart rate.  Try fresh mint tea instead – it’s delicious! Buy some fresh, pick off a few leaves, put into a tall glass and add hot water. The water turns green because of the nutrients, this also helps to cleanse the liver, kidneys and colon too – bonus!

Stop working!

There needs to be a cut off point from working (checking emails, preparing for a meeting the next day), otherwise the brain takes all this information to bed with it, disturbing sleep later on. Far better to spend 10 minutes reviewing the day by writing down any major achievements, great moments and lessons. This helps switch off until the next day – check out ‘How To Handle Information Overload’.

Eliminate other distractions!

TV (especially the news), loud music, Facebook, Twitter, Crackberry etc.  Try putting on some ambient or classical music whilst you do the next three activities.

Shower, change, clean teeth!

A shower in the evening is a great way to send a signal to the brain that it’s time to start winding down and go to sleep (also increases the chances of doing the last thing on this list).

Write up a diary and/or read non-fiction for 20-30 minutes!

Jotting down a few thoughts about the day helps to switch off even more and reading non-fiction helps induce sleep – even if it’s a page-turner.  Try the Flashman Papers, by George MacDonald Fraser – fantastic reading material before bed.

Make love! (if you can)

The most natural sleeping tonic in the world:)

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  • Martin said:

    You´re right! I know when I´ll come down with a cold – it´s when I´ve been working silly hours, drinking too mcuh and eating crappy food. I stopped taking lemsips and all the other rubbish they sell at the chemist to ´cure´common colds. The best remedy by far, is to get some rest and drink freshly squeezed lemon juice (your post about that was excellent).

    Thanks for all the content on this site, your´re so right about getting back to basics, it´s not rocket science. Keep up the good work!


  • Mike Newell said:

    I am well impressed with this site, and have taken on board all the good advice, the half a lemon a day first thing in the morning is an excellent way to rid your body of the toxins, keep up the good work guys.



  • chris said:

    check out the sleep cycle alarm clock app for the iphone if you have one… you put your iphone in bed with you and it monitors your movements during the night. apparently we sleep in continuous cycles and these can be detected by the amount of movement your body makes as it sleeps. the cool bit is that you set an alarm time for the latest time you want to wake and the alarm goes off at a point you are at the lightest sleep (within 30 mins prior to your chosen alarm time)… i havent really explained this very well but basically it means that you wake up feeling awake rather that like you’ve just been hit by a bus… check it!!

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