Most of us will struggle with sleep at some stage in our lives, be it the nightly struggle to drift off or being unable to get a full and undisturbed kip. Top sleep consultant Lucy Wolfe joined Sinead and Mark on the AM couch this morning to share her top tips for getting a refreshing sleep.
Lucy dispelled a common misconception that we need less of it as we get older. She said: “So the older we get, it’s not that we need less sleep, it’s that sleep is on the decline in a natural capacity. So we have age related sleep changes that are ongoing from our early twenties.”
Lucy explained that it was not the length of the sleep that was declining the older we get, but rather the quality of it, which leaves us open to a number of health problems including higher risk of developing diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Some of her top tips for getting a good night’s kip included:
- Maintaining a regular schedule
- Developing a pre-bedtime sleep ritual
- Exercise daily
- Create a sleep friendly environment
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress with pillows
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and other ‘sleep stealers’
- Keep electronics out of the bedroom
Lucy put major emphasis on how modern technology affects our sleep: “The modern life has completely affected our tendency to sleep. Previous generations to us slept much better and didn’t have what we’d call these sleep problems.”
“You may well have your child getting his 9 or 10 hours of required sleep but if there has been over use of electronic media or computer games before sleep they may well go to sleep with relative ease, but their brains may not go into the deep restorative sleep,” Lucy continued and she said that this does not only apply to teenagers but adults of all ages and that it can greatly affect your mood.
How do you know when you’re getting a good night’s sleep? Well Lucy had the answer to that too: “The idea is that you feel refreshed and well rested. There are natural slumps throughout the course of the day, but we’re looking for daytime alertness and that you’re not really fatigued throughout the course of the day.”
Later in the show Lucy answered some of your questions: