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photo of a woman's feet hanging out of a duvet on a bed

2 Apr 2019

Employee Assistance Programme Focus: Tips for a restful night’s sleep

Having a good night’s sleep can improve both your physical and mental health. If you don’t get enough sleep, it can affect your overall energy levels, emotional health and productivity.

Our bodies have a natural sleep-wake cycle, so getting in sync with this cycle is one of the best ways to improve sleep. You can achieve this by:

  • Attempting to go to sleep and getting up at the same time everyday
  • Avoid napping – if you start to feel drowsy, try and do something stimulating instead to bring your energy levels back up

Another way to get a good night’s sleep is to regularly exercise. Try to finish any exercise around three hours before your bedtime, otherwise it may have a detrimental impact on your sleep.

Exposure to light is also a factor which can affect how well we sleep. Having too much light can affect our melatonin levels; a hormone found in the body which is controlled by light.

There are many different things which can alter our body’s production of melatonin. Spend more time outside and when you are inside, find ways to expose yourself to sunlight during the day, such as keeping curtains and blinds open.

At night, use a blue filter on your phone screen at least one to two hours before bed, avoid late night television, and make sure your bedroom is dark.

Food and drink play a big role in how we sleep – avoid drinking caffeine, eat less sugar and avoid nicotine products and eating food close to your bedtime.  

Finally, a good sleeping environment is key to achieving a bedtime routine. You can improve your room by:

  • Making sure your bed is comfortable
  • Keeping your room tidy, with noise levels to a minimum
  • Maintaining a comfortable temperature in your bedroom
  • Using your bedroom only at night time

For more advice on how to get a good night’s sleep, check out research by Loughborough University’s Clinical Sleep Research Unit, which includes the health trinity of sleep, exercise and diet.

The Employee Assistance Programme has a range of guides, podcasts and videos available online (using access code ‘lborowell’) for a number of common life challenges.

The EAP provides confidential and unlimited support to University staff members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for free. They can be contacted by email (wellness@rehabworks.co.uk) and by telephone (0800 111 6387).