Sleep Tips from Dr. Happy - The Sleep Expert
We’re all starting to make small but necessary changes to our lifestyles to promote a safer and healthier wellbeing. Hand sanitiser, immunity boosting foods and social distancing are all being encouraged, however there’s another imperative part of this equation that’s currently seeing less of the limelight - sleep.
Sleep is not something we take lightly. We sought some expert advice to increase our knowledge on sleep and learn more about its impact on our daily performance.
Dr. Tim Sharp, aka Dr. Happy, is our go-to guy when it comes to sleep. With three degrees in psychology (including a Ph.D.) and a growing list of career achievements, his wealth of knowledge has become a vital tool in improving the lives of many.
Dr. Happy uses his expertise to enhance happiness in individuals, families and organisations. He is the Founder of The Happiness Institute and the author of multiple books, including ‘The Good Sleep Guide: 10 Steps to Better Sleep & How to Break the Worry Cycle’. Through dedication and ongoing research, Dr. Happy is able to provide useful recommendations and advice amidst our constantly evolving society.
Firstly, we asked Dr. Happy to provide some insights on how sleep affects our day-to-day.
“Good sleep (adequate hours and good quality) is vital for good performance during the day (no matter what you’re trying to do). Interrupted or inadequate sleep affects concentration, decision making and memory, which is vital for most jobs. It can also affect mood, which can then impact relationships, both personal and professional. In fact, research suggests poor sleep has the same or more impact on functioning as does alcohol. Good sleep, on the other hand, enhances cognitive capacities (such as concentration and attention) and boosts energy and zest.”
If you’re serious about getting a better night’s sleep, preparation needs to start long before your head hits the pillow. Dr. Happy shares his top tips for a better night’s sleep.
1. Make sleep a priority
2. Develop a good sleep routine; including “wind down” time (and minimal screen time after a certain hour)
3. Keep active and exercise through the day
4. Manage time and stressors
5. Trial and master relaxation strategies
6. Learn how to manage unhelpful thoughts
7. Practice and persevere
If you’re currently finding it hard to get to sleep at night, or you’re not feeling as refreshed as you should be when you wake up in the morning; don’t stress, you’re not alone. Almost 80% of people will experience sleep difficulties at some point in their lives. Do your best to make some gradual changes to your nightly routine and build a calming and comfortable sleep environment. Dr. Happy highlights just how beneficial a comfortable bed can be.
“At one extreme, uncomfortable bedding will make it very hard to relax and then, to get to and stay asleep. At the other extreme, comfortable bedding will enhance positive feelings and be far more conducive to the relaxation and calm that’s so helpful for slumber.”
If you’ve had intentions of improving your sleep routine, now could be the perfect time to take action. As we’re forced to slip back into first gear over the coming weeks, more time spent at home could very well equate to more hours of shut eye. Plus, you may get more of a chance to prepare for bed, consequently enhancing the quality of your sleep.
Exactly how much sleep should you be getting?
“The “average” number of hours that’s often quoted is 8 to 8.5 per night. But, and this is an important “but”, just like any average, this is just a midpoint and there’s a range above and below this point. So, some people can function well on 7, 6 or even 5 or 4 hours a night (not many, by some); whereas others need 9, 10 or even more. The real question is not so much “how many hours should I have each night?” but “how do you feel in the morning?”. If you feel refreshed, revitalised and clear of mind, then you’re doing well.”
Take this time to relax, regroup and rest a little more than you might normally. Test out some of Dr. Happy’s sleep tips in the coming nights to see if your quality of sleep improves. Once you feel the benefits of adequate sleep, it will be a lot easier to maintain it as a priority in your life.
Keep an eye out over the coming weeks as we delve deeper into the key ways to wind down after a stressful day. Plus, we'll show you how to build the best environment to support a quality night's sleep.