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Tomorrow, January 3rd, is the Festival of Sleep Day! I don’t know who came up with this idea, but if your New Year’s resolution is to get more sleep this year, then this is a great way to kick off!

With busy modern lives, sleep deprivation is epidemic. There are so many calls on our time, and sleep seems to be the thing that everyone thinks they can compromise on. However, sleep deprivation is associated with lowered immunity, mood disorders and even obesity. Sleep deprivation also causes lowered reaction times and impaired performance, making it a major cause of road traffic accidents.

During sleep, our body carries out many maintenance and repair tasks, including a good clean of the gut, filing memories away for long-term recall and autophagy (cleaning up waste accumulated in our cells). A good night’s sleep can give us increased energy, reduced risk of being overweight, better concentration and memory, improved immunity and reduced stress.

An adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and it is best to get this every night rather than having less during the week and sleep-bingeing at the weekend.

Here are my top tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  1. Keep your bedroom completely dark – yes that means no screens of any kind! Light tells our bodies it is time to wake up.

  2. Have a bedtime routine – no vigorous exercise, screens or big meals in the hour and a half before bed. Instead, keep lights low, listen to relaxing music, have a bath and a herbal tea.

  3. No caffeine after noon. Caffeine hangs around in the body for a while, so aim to keep your daily allowance to the morning only.

Even a few small changes can make a big difference – Happy Festival of Sleep everyone!!!

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