DID YOU KNOW... Consistency is key to a healthy sleep pattern, and that means trying to get to bed at the same time each night, rising the same time the following morning. If you stick to a routine, your body clock will naturally wake you up and get you ready for bed by changing your body temperature
LIFE IN LOCKDOWN Sleep and dreams THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC HAS PLAYED HAVOC WITH ALMOST EVERY FACET OF OUR WAKING LIVES, FROM WORK, EDUCATION AND FINANCES, TO TRAVEL, LEISURE AND SOCIAL FREEDOMS. IT’S ALSO HAD A HUGE KNOCK-ON EFFECT ON OUR SLUMBERS.
Professor Mark Blagrove, a leading expert in sleep and dreaming at the Department of Psychology, shares his views on how much sleep we need and why.
PROFESSOR ANN JOHN Research focuses on young people’s mental health
WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT?
“The time between the ages of 11 and 24 is a period of huge change and with that change can come quite unsettling feelings and emotions that are part of normal human experience. One of the most unsettling times is around exam results and what that can do is make you feel really anxious. Anxiety can present in all sorts of ways. Some people are quite aware that they’re feeling anxious - for example if their heart beats a bit faster - but anxiety can also feel like a knot in your stomach or a lump in your throat and those feelings are almost a human response to what you’re experiencing as a threat, which goes back to quite a primitive ‘fight or flight’ idea. Often these feelings will just pass but if you’re finding that they’re keeping you up at night or you’re worrying, or it’s affecting if you want to see your friends - that’s when anxiety is getting too much. One of the things you can do is distract yourself - try breathing in and out slowly, make a playlist or do something physical like going for a walk, talking with friends or mindful activities like colouring. The important thing to remember is that all things pass.
Despite the temptation to squeeze every last waking second out of one of the most depressing and, frankly, boring years in many people’s lives, the fact is humans need sleep. One of the reasons is biological, as sleep protects the brain from conditions such as Alzheimer’s by flushing out harmful toxins, but it also allows us to connect the memories during the day and sieve through which ones are important. Sleep allows us to summarise what we learnt, rather than storing all of the memories during the day. HOW MUCH SLEEP DO WE NEED? History is peppered with world leaders famed for their relatively brief periods of shut- eye. But Professor Blagrove recommends sleeping for at least six or seven hours a night. “
“Sleep allows us to summarise what we learnt” Professor Mark Blagrove
If you get too little sleep, it does affect your mood, how fast you can think, and your ability to learn. HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED SLEEP PATTERNS? It is not all bad. People working and studying from home may have found the precious time previously spent “
commuting can be redistributed elsewhere – including sleep - while others have found that the stresses and strains of life under lockdown will keep them up all night. One of the causes of insomnia is resentment – if people feel resentful of others, it can add to insomnia. Try to reduce the number of things bothering you before you get your head down. “
If you’re worried about your results give us a call as we have people here to help you. Just talking your options through can really help to clear your mind”
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