More than 28 million people in Britain are sleep deprived – are you one of them?
Research by The University of Hertfordshire was published today, conducted to coincide with the publication of Professor Richard Wiseman’s latest book Night School, suggests that nearly six in ten (59%) of adults in Britain – over 28 million people – are now sleep deprived and getting seven hours or less sleep each night.
This is a significant increase on the 2013 figure of thirty-nine per cent taken from a previous study.
Additionally research states “The blue light from electonic devices suppress the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and so it’s important to avoid them before bedtime,” says Wiseman.
Seventy-eight per cent (78%) of respondents indicated that they use such devices during this period. Among 18-24 year olds this figure increases to a remarkable ninety-one per cent (91%).
And of course, stress is another major factor for those who see the early hours on a nightly basis. Try some of these tips to help battle it.
STRESS AT HOME
1. Take a step back
When a family is under stress and things within it are unhappy; it’s important you try to take an overview of what’s going on. “Imagine you are in an emotional helicopter and observing what is going on within the family and what role you play in it,” says consultant Harley Street psychologist Dr Ingrid Collins, also author of A Year of Spirituality. “Once you realise what part you play in the family; you can go about changing it.”
2. Don’t let the kids take over
You need to take control of your family. Things like bedtime routines, dinner time and food preferences and teenagers spending too much time on the phone can be challenging. Set out guidelines and keep talking. “Always keep the door open for communication. If bad things happen, try to deal with them in a way that lets you keep talking,” says Stephen Biddulph, author of The Secret of Happy Parents (thorsons, £9.99).
3. Stop trying to be perfect
Nobody lives in a perfect world. No one has it all. Everyone struggles with something or other. It’s how you cope with life’s stresses and strains that make the difference. Try to be the best parent you can be. Don’t berate yourself for not always getting it right. Give yourself a break once in a while.
4. Find something you all enjoy – together
Take time to do something together as a family is something Breathing Space Scotland recommends. “When you have a busy job and family life, it can be difficult to juggle time and responsibilities,” he says. “Finding an activity that the whole family likes, such as walking in the park or relaxing at home with a good movie that everyone can enjoy, helps to get the balance right.”
“Keeping a happy home is the responsibility of each person in that home, from the youngest to the oldest,” says Life Coach Frank Shapiro. “Treat your kids the way you want to be treated by them. Children are to be respected just as much as they should be respectful. But they learn from you, show that you are stressed and they will be the same. Show them through your action that life is wonderful and they will grow up to be a help in eliminating the stresses of every day home life, not the cause of it.”
STRESS IN RELATIONSHIPS
1. Start dating… your spouse
When you feel your relationship is under pressure and you don’t know which way to turn, then go back to the beginning. That’s the advice from author of Straight Talking (Piatkus, £10.99) and psychologist Dr Linda Blair. “Make sure you have time with each other, without the children and demanding jobs. Organise a date night once a fortnight or once a month – and spend some time together.”
2. Simple pleasures
To get a good night’s sleep, a wholesome meal and a walk in the countryside are often the best cures for anxiety and stress. What you eat and drink will also contribute to the way you feel. Try to follow a healthy diet jam-packed with fruit and vegetables. Check out The Food Doctor’s Ian Marber’s new book Supereating. There’s even a chapter on stress-busting foods.
3. Give yourself a happy day
Do you know what makes you feel relaxed and happy? Do you give yourself time and space in pursuit of this pleasure? Counsellor Robert Holden, author of Happiness Now! (Coronet Books, £6.99) suggests that we should spend a day a month on this enjoyable activity; whatever that is. Do something just for you now and again and watch your relationship improve.
4. Argue less
Stop being so argumentative. “It is not enough to want better relationships. Agree more and argue less. We simply don’t have to argue with people. Every time we turn away from a potential argument, a relationship receives a shot of hope,” says Judson Edwards, author of What They Never Told Us About… how to get along with each other, (HarvestHouse, £7.99).
5. Stop bottling up
If you feel you’re a pressure cooker of stress and rage, a fast release is just talking about it. Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.