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Sleep easy: Strategies for switching off

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Lady Gaga says that her passion for music and her fans sometimes keeps her up for days. And earlier this year, Victoria Beckham blamed her tired appearance on sleep deprivation caused by her dual roles as mother of four and fashion designer. Whatever it is that is keeping you from nodding off, you are in good company – an estimated three-quarters of us are not getting the recommended eight hours' sleep.


And our quality for rest is so poor that it is impacting on our work, health and relationships. The problem seems to be that by the time we go to bed, we've been so stressed out by the day that we don't get a proper rest. To break the pattern, we need to look at our behaviour during the day, as well as bedtime. Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, author of Tired But Wired, has developed some strategies for optimising sleep quality and managing fatigue: Take a break – regularly seeking rest and recovery throughout the day is really effective. Even a break of five minutes can be sufficient to enable the body to renew energy. Wind down – allow yourself time to wind down before going to sleep. Read a book, listen to music or have a bath and use essential oils such as lavender to promote sleepiness. Work it out – Talking about your work when you get home can be a positive way of gaining support from family and friends. However, try not to let work talk dominate your evening and spill over into bedtime. Manage your time – write to-do lists before leaving work, so you are less likely to wake up during the night thinking about tasks that have to be done. Go to sleep – keep your sleep environment free from clutter. Don't bring work into your bedroom and keep the laptop and smart phone away from your bed. Ensure that your mattress and pillow are comfortable and leave a window open or use a fan – the ideal temperature for good sleep is slightly cool.

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