Put Your Bad Sleeping Habits To Bed!

Woman relaxing at home using a tablet

Sleep expert, Dr Petra Simic, Clinical Director of Bupa Health Clinics, says: “Putting a number on how many hours of sleep we should get just isn’t realistic. When we talk about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sleep we’re creating fear about something that is as personal to you as a fingerprint.

“This constant concern about not getting enough sleep can cause you to actually lose sleep. I’m encouraging Brits to make 2018 the year we all say goodnight to sleep anxiety.”

To help Brits shake off sleep anxiety in 2018, Dr Petra Simic, Clinical Director at Bupa Health Clinics, shares her six trend predictions for the year ahead: 

1 Sleep Binging

Yes, a full night’s sleep every night is the ultimate goal.  For most people, this is an unrealistic expectation because they have children or work late hours. So, when you get the opportunity for a good, long sleep – take it.

Recharging your batteries with an extra-long slumber at the weekend or during a holiday is something we should embrace and enjoy. Regular sleep binges will help your body to do all the repairing it needs to do – so don’t feel guilty about having an early night, or an extra lie in.

Tired African American woman sleeping in bed at home

2 The Rise Of The Anti-trackers

Modern society has taught us to count everything. Whether it’s the calories we consume or how many steps we take each day, most of the time counting helps us to develop better habits.

However, putting a number on how many hours of sleep we should be getting can exacerbate anxiety about not being able to get enough. With more of us counting sleep rather than sheep, 2018 should be the time when we reflect as individuals on what we need, and what we can realistically achieve.

If you are someone who struggles to nod off, or you find yourself waking up during the night, don’t be tempted to check the time. This immediately causes your brain to calculate how many hours of sleep you’ve clocked and stimulates it with light, making it less likely that you’ll fall asleep again quickly.

Red alarm clock

3 Made-to-measure Sleep  

I hear people say all the time that they “don’t sleep well”, however, when you dig a bit deeper, most of the time they are comparing themselves with those (literally) closest to them – usually their partners or the people they live with.

Instead of judging yourself on the habits of others, ask yourself how you feel about your sleep. The amount of sleep someone needs really varies, and we need to think about our individual needs when it comes to getting a good night’s rest.

Woman sleeping on right side

4 Losing The Race To Bed

This year we want to encourage people to lose the race to bed. In the evening we naturally start to relax and feel sleepy, whether it’s in front of the TV or elsewhere. We then realise it’s time for bed and rush to prepare. This adrenaline stimulates our bodies and makes it harder to drop off.

I encourage people to lose this race to bed and instead do all the necessary bed- preparation before they sit down to relax. Get your PJs on and teeth brushed before chilling out. Avoid screens, dim the lights and let yourself relax. Once you feel sleepy, just take yourself straight to bed.

Young woman cleaning teeth

Pic: iStockphoto

5 Holistic Help 

If you regularly struggle with sleep, or even if you just want to find out how to improve your personal sleep pattern, a health assessment is a great way to get feedback on your entire lifestyle.

During a health assessment at a Bupa Health Clinic, we show our customers that there’s no such thing as a “normal” night’s sleep, and help to build a picture of what would work for you as an individual. This gets people to become more aware of their personal needs and follow their own rules about sleep. Rest assured, learning how to get a good night’s sleep will help with every area of your life as you’ll have more energy.

6 Boost Energy Levels With A Nap

It may be hard to work around work, but a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness and performance, especially in the early afternoon when blood sugar levels are low.

Just remember that naps shouldn’t replace long periods of sleep, as this is when the real work begins and our bodies really get the chance to rejuvenate and repair.

And like everything to do with rest, it’s entirely personal – naps may be great for some while others will find it difficult to include in their day-to-day routine – and that’s absolutely fine!

Happy young adult woman sitting cross-legged on a bed in the morning and stretching her arms.

Pic: iStockphoto

Bupa offers health assessments that give thebodya full MOT, looking at a variety of factors including sleep patterns, fitness, weight, musculoskeletal, blood sugar, liver function and more. Prices start at £180 – less than 50p a day spread across the year.

Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!