Wednesday 19 September 2018

Real Health Podcast: Are you tired but wired? These three key strategies will put you to sleep

Karl Henry

Karl Henry

On this week’s show, Karl is going to be putting you to sleep – well, hopefully not in the next thirty minutes or so, but if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest, Karl speaks to sleep disorder expert, Deirdre McSwiney for the solutions and science behind sleep problems.

“Twenty percent of the population suffers from insomnia at some point in their lives,” explains Deirdre.  “Sleep problems are very real and in people’s lives. It all still comes down to the individual and our own perception of sleep and how we feel about a good night’s sleep.  Tired but wired is a major factor with modern society.”

Also joining Karl on the show is Paul de Loughry, a long-time sleep sufferer who says his biggest problem is waking up between 2-3am and staring at the ceiling for hours not being able to get back to sleep. 

The first thing we should all do, says Deirdre, is focus on our lifestyle and the bedroom environment. 

Paul de Loughry and sleep disorder expert, Deirdre McSwiney, joined Karl Henry for this week's show
Paul de Loughry and sleep disorder expert, Deirdre McSwiney, joined Karl Henry for this week's show

“Get rid of clocks from the bedroom.  What is the point of knowing you’ve only had two or three hours sleep?  It’s just added pressure for yourself.  Good sleep elements include: eliminate noise and light, making sure the room is cool and dark.”

“Eliminate all caffeine after 5pm,  and not just tea/coffee, chocolate and some medicines have it as well so be mindful of that.  Diet is key and a light snack before bed can be conducive to sleep.  Avoid a heavy meal, but a glass of milk or bowl of corn flakes is ok and cheese doesn’t give you bad dreams either!”

“Exercise is also key and fit people do sleep better.  However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime. A two hour gap is ideal.”

Turning to Paul’s sleep issues, which are common for a lot of people, Deirdre says it’s mainly do about his head and if this is your problem, then doing a brain dump before going to bed is vital.

“You need to set aside a period in the evening after dinner and use a few minutes to write down your thoughts about the day and dump it,” explains Deirdre.  “Get them down on paper and forget about it.  You have to make your bedroom an oasis of peace.”

So, don’t forget, the three key tips for effective sleeping:

- Look at the environment in your bedroom making sure it is cool and dark with all screens out of room

- Lifestyle: no caffeine after 5pm and make sure you exercise

- Brain dump after dinner time, reflecting on your day and preparing for the next day ahead and leave it there on the paper in the kitchen

Subscribe to the Real Health podcast with Karl Henry and get no nonsense advice about being fit and healthy every day.

Apple users can listen and subscribe on Apple podcasts.

Android users cancan listen and subscribe on SoundCloud.

For any health and fitness questions you can email realhealth@independent.ie or contact Karl on Twitter @karlhenrypt.

The Real Health podcast is in association with Laya Healthcare.

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