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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    Your guide to a good night’s sleep

    Your guide to a good night’s sleep

    Posted on April 23rd, 2024

    How are you feeling today? Did you wake up this morning feeling refreshed after a solid eight hours of sleep, ready to take on the day? Or were you rudely awoken by your alarm clock and want nothing more than to head back to bed to hide away from the world? According to a recent YouGov survey, 89% of Britons say their life would be improved if they had more sleep. So this month, the health experts at YourGP address how you can make that happen. Afterall, May is officially Better Sleep Month.

    The importance of a good night’s sleep

    How you feel during the day is often dependent on how you slept the night before. And that’s because your mind and body needs time to physically rest, repair and recuperate. While you’re catching forty winks, there’s a lot going on inside, including:

    • Energy conservation
    • Growth and healing
    • Learning and memory consolidation
    • Emotional regulation

    Are you getting enough?

    It is recommended that adults aim for around 7-9 hours of sleep per night. However, research from Mental Health UK showed that almost 1 in 5 people in the UK aren’t getting enough.

    The effects of a poor night’s sleep

    The odd late night won’t have too much of a detrimental effect on your health. You may feel sluggish, have difficulty concentrating, and feel a little irritable, but this can be corrected if you get back into your usual routine as soon as possible.

    However, a chronic lack of quality sleep can have a serious impact on your health:

    • Suppressing your immune system, making you more susceptible to sickness and infection
    • Increasing your risk of developing heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure
    • Interfering with your metabolism and increasing your risk of obesity
    • Leading to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety

    Get into a good routine

    The best way to guarantee a good night’s sleep is to regulate your sleep-wake circadian rhythm. There are several things you can do to achieve this including:

    1. Find your rhythm: Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to enable your body to get into a regular rhythm.
    2. Make time to wind down: Whether it’s relaxing in the bath, doing a little gentle yoga, or reading a book – give your body and brain time to turn off and relax before heading to bed.
    3. Ban the screens: Aim to put down your phone and switch off your computer an hour before you go to bed, as the light from the screens on these devices can have a detrimental effect on your sleep.
    4. Cut out the caffeine: Stimulants such as coffee can interfere with sleep so try to limit your intake during the day and avoid it altogether in the evening.
    5. Work out: Moderate exercise during the day can help to relieve tension build up, leaving you in a relaxed state which is more conducive to sleep.
    6. Get the temperature just right: Aim for a room temperature of between 18-24°C and ensure your bed is comfortable.
    7. Keep it tidy: Keeping your bedroom clean, tidy and uncluttered can help to create a much more relaxing environment.
    8. Do not disturb: Opt for heavy, lined curtains, if you can, to prevent the early morning sunshine waking you during the summer months and to minimise any outside noise.

    Common sleep disorders you shouldn’t ignore

    For most people, trying the suggestions above will be enough to improve their quality of sleep. However, there are some sleep issues which will require the help of a medical professional:

    • Long-term insomnia: Some people with insomnia find it hard to fall sleep, whilst others may fall asleep relatively quickly but wake up during the night and find it impossible to go back to sleep. Others will wake up repeatedly through the night. If this pattern persists for more than three months, it is classed as long-term insomnia. Thankfully, it can be successfully treated with cognitive behavioural therapy.
    • Sleep apnea: If you’re known to snore and you have very disrupted sleep, one explanation could be sleep apnea. This causes interruptions to your breathing, causing you to make gasping or choking noises and wake frequently. Sufferers should speak to their GP who may refer them to a specialist sleep clinic for investigative tests. Certain lifestyle changes such as losing weight, giving up smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can sometimes make a big difference. If not, a CPAP machine can help to keep your airways open by gently pumping air into a mask that you wear while you sleep.
    • Narcolepsy: This rare brain condition causes the sufferer to fall asleep unpredictably. They can fall asleep suddenly and without warning, they may suffer from sleep paralysis leaving them unable to move or speak when falling asleep or waking, and they may have cataplexy (temporary loss of muscle control). Whilst there is currently no cure for narcolepsy, a healthcare professional can advise the best ways to help manage the condition.

    Speak to a professional

    If the lack of quality sleep is having a negative on your life, speak to the healthcare professionals at YourGP. Book your appointment via our simple online booking system, email reception@your.gp, or call us on 0131 225 5656 and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment at a time that suits you. We’ll help you get a better night’s sleep, so you can look forward to a better day ahead.

    I went in for an allergy shot and was thoroughly pleased with the practice from start to finish. They informed me with the all the necessary details and potential side effects (which thankfully I didn’t have). The level of professionalism is felt from the time you enter all the way through the end of your appointment! Thank you! See you next year!

    Yulie L

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 | his.ihcregulation@nhs.scot

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.