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Sleep Goals for Sleeptember

Sep 2, 2020

Get set to challenge your sleep this September as part of our awareness month, Sleeptember.

That’s right! We are going to be setting Sleep Goals throughout the month as part of our annual campaign that highlights the healthy benefits of a good night’s sleep and how to achieve it.

There are many factors that play a part in how we sleep – some things we can’t change (like our chronotypes), some things we can (how much caffeine we drink). That’s why we are encouraging everyone to take part in our Sleep Goals campaign to make small, simple steps over the four weeks to help get a better night’s sleep.

We’ve chosen four common sleep thieves:

Week 1 Sleep Goal

I will cut down on screen time by having an hour of screen free relaxing activities each night for seven days

It’s well known that screen time can impact on our sleep. It’s not just about the blue light impacting on your sleep, most activities that we use our devices for can keep us awake and alert which we don’t want to do at bedtime. Try turning off ALL screens an hour before bedtime and do this for the whole week. Make a conscious effort to put your phone out of reach or sight so you’re not tempted to pick it back up. In this hour, choose to do something else relaxing such as reading, listening to music or having a warm bath.

Week 2 Sleep Goal

I will aim to wake up roughly at the same time every day for a whole week, including weekends!

For the second Sleep Goal we are asking you to set a wake-up time and stick to it all week. Did you know that a regular wake up time can strengthen your circadian rhythm making sleep easier? Our bodies thrive on routine!

Week 3 Sleep Goal

I will aim to stop drinking any caffeinated drinks after 2pm for seven days.

Although there are significant individual differences in how caffeine affects each of us, give yourself enough time between your last caffeine intake and your sleep time (around eight hours) to make sure that it does not interfere with your ability to get off to sleep.

Week 4 Sleep Goal

I will ensure my bedroom environment is cool, quiet, dark, clutter free and features a comfortable bed

Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be cool, quiet, dark and have a comfortable supportive bed, ideally not older than seven years. A bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and free from distractions. Anything entertaining or work related such as TVs, computers and tablets, games consoles and mobile phones should be turned off or even better, banned from the room!

You may find these goals aren’t suitable for you e.g. maybe you don’t drink caffeine, or you already turn your screens off an hour before bedtime. If that’s the case here are some other Goals you could set yourself. Stick to them for a week and see if you notice any changes in your sleep.

I will remove or hide the clock in the bedroom:

It is common to watch the clock when we are awake at night. For some of us, this can increase our anxiety levels and further prevent us from being able to fall asleep. It is not necessary to remove the clock, as, for example, some people rely upon their alarm clocks to get them up in the morning, but having the clock face out of sight will help reduce any sleep anxiety.

I will avoid alcohol for a week

Could you give up the booze for a week? Although alcohol is a sedative, it can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep. Our sleep tends to become fragile and light when we have a lot of alcohol in the evening and can lead to lots of awakenings in the latter part of the night and feelings of being unrefreshed during the day.

I will aim to be active on three occasions over a seven day period

If you normally walk three times, take it up a notch to a brisker walk or even jog. It’s well known that people who exercise regularly tend to sleep better. Releasing pent up tension through exercise is also highly beneficial, helping to banish stress before bedtime.

I will aim to write down any worries, thoughts or a to-do list before bed

Stress and anxiety are the most common reasons people don’t sleep well. When you begin to experience worry, anxiety or frustration it sends your body into ‘fight or flight’ response – your mind may start to race, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure raises. Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day – it can help to feel like you’ve offloaded!

Set yourself the challenge this month and let us know how you get on!