A study out today, covered in The
Times and the Independent amongst other national newspapers,
indicates that people who sleep more than 8 hours a night can have
a higher risk of suffering from a stroke. However experts are
currently unsure whether oversleeping is a 
cause or a
symptom. 


Dad on bed


Scientists from the University of
Cambridge said that those aged over 40 who regularly slept for over
8 hours were 46 per cent more likely to have a stroke. Researchers
hypothesised that it was likely that people prone to stroke slept
longer, rather than that sleeping longer caused a
stroke. 


Dr Madina Kara of the Stroke
Association also commented that the study did not amount to
evidence that too much sleep led to stroke and urged anyone with
concerns about their health to speak to their GP.


The Daily Mirror also featured the
story, alongside sleep "doze and don'ts" featuring our very own
sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan. Dr Nerina rebuffs the myths that
napping ruins night time sleep and that kids will only sleep when
they're tired, but supports the theory that exercise is good for
achieving quality sleep - as long as it doesn't take place too
close to bedtime.


On the subject of quality sleep, Dr
Nerina Ramlakhan says: "Sleep is a crucial way to repair and
rebalance the body physically and mentally. Sleep requirements vary
from person to person and for most of us, living in this age of
information overload, the challenge is to achieve efficient, deep
sleep, rather than a certain quota of hours. You are more likely to
feel rejuvenated if you have had five or six hours of efficient
sleep than seven or eight hours of shallow, restless
sleep. 


"That said, eight hours is a good
average to work towards and if you are regularly struggling to
sleep or sleeping too much, you should review your sleep strategies
and make sure you're following the best lifestyle practices for
optimal sleep."


If you're struggling to achieve
quality deep sleep, try Dr Nerina's top tips for a great night's
rest:


1. Creating the perfect sleep
environment. A calm, tranquil bedroom free from clutter, junk and
tech
 


2. Following a regular wind down
routine. Read a book, listen to relaxing music, have a bath and use
some relaxing essential oils such as lavender to help promote
sleepiness.


3. Minimising stimulants. Caffeine
has a direct impact on reducing sleep quality so reduce caffeine
and increase your fluid intake by drinking more water, herbal teas
and dilute fruit juices. Dehydration is a key cause of frequent
waking or 'shallow' sleep


4. Managing the work/life balance.
Set some rules about when you stop talking about work and allow
your mind to wind down and switch off. Write your to-do list before
leaving work instead of at the beginning of the day to stop you
worrying about work in the evening.


 5. Avoiding looking at your clock. If you do
wake up in the night, avoid registering the time as you are more
likely to start worrying about how little sleep you will get and
therefore reduce your chances of getting back to sleep. Instead,
lie on your back, relax, and breathe deeply, then tell yourself if
you don't fall asleep and that you will just use the time to
rest.