According to the Sleep Foundation Australia, nearly half of all Australians experience two or more sleep issues, and these issues can lead to long term issues such as daytime fatigue, short-term memory loss and general exhaustion. Another big sleep problem facing many Australians is sleep apnoea, when a person frequently stops breathing while they are asleep. Sleep apnoea is particularly hard to spot, because the condition can often be mistaken for snoring. Amcal Pharmacy Senior Pharmacist James Nevile has some advice on what’s keeping you up at night, and how you can get a better sleep.
1. No routine
“Getting a good night’s sleep is all about routine – sticking to a consistent and realistic time for bed will not only give you the best chance of a regular sleeping pattern, but also help you to feel fully refreshed the next day,” James said. “To do this, you’ll need to establish a strict and consistent time for sleep each day, to create an effective body clock. When our bodies have a regular sleeping rhythm we are more likely to enjoy a better night’s sleep, which may then have a larger and more positive impact on our daily physical and emotional wellbeing. Lack of a structured sleeping routine can have long-lasting impacts to several chronic health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, anxiety and depression.”
2. Using electronic devices before bedtime
“Even though the temptation of a good Netflix binge might encourage you to stay up into the late hours of the night, heavy screen time before bed may be doing you more harm than good. Consistent evidence shows that sleep can be hampered by excessive screen time, resulting in potentially a shortened sleep duration. To help prevent this, reading a book or engaging in other light household activity may help to reduce excessive screen time.”
3. Having a little afternoon pick me-up
“For many of us, consuming a hit of caffeine in the afternoon can be a well-deserved (and often, well needed) way to get through the day. However, it’s important to keep in mind that when caffeine is consumed in the afternoon, it may keep your brain too active into the evening. For a healthier choice, a simple walk or getting up from your chair to enjoy the outside can work wonders to help you feel rejuvenated and refreshed – without this added hit of caffeine.”
4. Not enough exercise
“Exercise is not only an effective way to keep on top of your mental and physical health, but can work wonders in improving your sleep regime. And it’s not just a run or a gym session that can do this for you, it’s been shown that even simple relaxation exercises or focusing on a mantra, such as repeating a word constantly, was found to help improve the overall sleep hygiene. Alternatively, try an after-work jog around the neighborhood to help you feel good and rest better at night, as long as it’s not too close to bedtime
5. Not talking to a health specialist
“If you’re ever feeling unsure about your health, please visit your local GP or Pharmacy for up-to-date information and advice. A dedicated health care professional will be able to give you some tangible advice on managing your sleeping condition in both the short and long-term,” says James. “What is most alarming about sleep apnoea is that it can sound like snoring so it is important to recognise the difference. As a first step, if you hear your significant other gasping or making choking sounds while asleep, this may be one of the first signs of sleep apnoea,” James said.
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