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Getting a good night’s sleep

Not getting enough sleep, feeling stressed and having a poor diet can all lead to tiredness. Did you know lack of sleep can make you more prone to medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity?

If you wake up feeling tired and throughout the day you are craving for a nap, it is likely you are not getting enough sleep. Most of us need around eight hours sleep a night to work well the following day. Feeling fatigued is common and one in three Britons suffer from poor sleep.

Helen Knight, respiratory physiology co-ordinator at Heartlands Hospital, said: “It is important to know if you feel you get enough sleep and whether your sleep is of good quality. You’re probably not getting enough good quality sleep if you constantly feel tired throughout the day and it’s affecting your everyday life.

“Make an appointment to see your GP if you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep and it’s affecting your daily life – particularly if it has been a problem for a month or more.

“Your GP may ask you about your sleeping routines, your caffeine consumption and your general lifestyle habits including diet and exercise.”

So what can you do to help beat tiredness and sleep well? Helen explains:  “This sounds obvious but getting a good night’s sleep is one way of overcoming tiredness. Going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day will help you sleep better.

“Exercising regularly will help you feel less tired and give you more energy. A 15-minute walk every day can give you an energy boost and the benefits of exercising frequently will increase.

“Another way of boosting your energy levels is to eat regularly. Try to eat regular meals and healthy snacks rather than having a large meal. A healthy and balanced diet will help combat fatigue.

“Stress takes up a lot of energy. Start introducing relaxing activities into your day. You could go to gym, listen to music or read a book to help relieve stress.

“Avoid having caffeine in the evenings. Caffeine interferes with the process of falling asleep and it prevents deep sleep. Instead have a warm, milky drink or herbal tea.

“Before you go to sleep, have a warm bath and then do some gentle yoga to help relax the mind and body. Make sure your bed is comfortable to sleep on and keep your bedroom as quiet and dark as possible. Temperature, lighting and noise should be controlled so that the bedroom environment helps you to fall and stay asleep easily.”

Thinking of going to Accident and Emergency but not sure if you need to? Try our handy symptom checker.

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