Britain turns back the clock: Sleep experts give extra hour heart warning
Experts have warned that the chance
of having a heart attack increases by eight percent the next day
after the clocks go back.
This is thought to be a result of increased
stress and changes in daily routine.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends
sleeping between seven and nine hours a night, but research has
found the average Brit gets just six hours and 35
We carried out a study on 2,000 people, which
highlighted that due to our lack of sleep we are missing the
equivalent of a shocking seven days sleep a year.
What's more, almost half the
nation describe themselves as "permanently exhausted" or "sleep deprived" -
we're a nation that could definitely benefit from
an extra hour's sleep.
As we set our clocks back an hour in
preparation for winter, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, our sleep expert
said: "The average UK sleep-debt is an alarming figure, but I would
always advise that people don't get fixated on the sleep that they
have lost, instead focus on making lifestyle changes to ensure
quality sleep in the future. The clocks going back is the perfect
time of year to put in place some positive changes that will help
to promote a great night's sleep."
Here, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, shares her top tips
to get back into GMT with ease, while improving your sleep patterns
and the quality of your sleep:
1. Follow a regular wind down routine. Allow
your brain to switch off by avoiding checking emails or social
media accounts for 90 minutes before bedtime. Instead read a book,
listen to relaxing music and have a bath using relaxing essential
oils, such as lavender, to help promote sleepiness.
2. Regular exercise. During the winter people
are often less motivated to exercise but it's crucial to take part
in exercise regularly, as it's a very effective way of reducing
stress hormone levels and thus enabling you to sleep more
3. Minimise stimulants.
Caffeine can severely reduce sleep quality - after just one cup of coffee it can take up to 10 hours
for the caffeine to leave your system. Avoid coffee close to
bedtime or try switching it for decaffeinated alternatives.
Dehydration is a key cause of frequent waking or 'shallow'
sleep, so increase your fluid intake by drinking
more water, herbal teas and diluted fruit juices before
4. Create the perfect sleep
environment. Making your bedroom tranquil, calm and free from
clutter, junk and technology will help you become more relaxed and
rested. You should never bring your work life into the bedroom
- make it a technology free
5. Watch your diet. Diet plays a significant
role on the quality of sleep we have. It's best to avoid having a
heavy meal before bedtime. If you often wake up in the night
feeling hungry then try having a little snack before bedtime.
Snacking during the day on low GI foods such as yoghurt, nuts,
fruits, seeds and lean meats will also keep your blood sugar level
stable, which results in a better night's sleep.
6. Change your sleep mindset. The more pressure
we put on ourselves to sleep, the less likely we are to actually
fall asleep. Often when we have a big event the next day we
struggle to sleep, in such cases it is often more beneficial to
focus on getting some good quality rest, rather than sleep. When
you focus on rest instead you will be surprised by how quickly you
For more information and further advice, check
out Dr Nerina's Sleep Toolkit: /sleep-matters/dr-nerinas-sleep-toolkit/
Research from the sleep council www.sleepcouncil.org.uk