The Sleep Revolution

How well did you sleep last night? If you fell into bed late and tossed and turned until you woke up bleary eyed this morning, you are not alone. In the Western world, we are living through a sleep deprivation epidemic and it is having a major impact on our health and wellbeing. Latest research suggests that we are getting between one and two hours less sleep today than we were getting 60 years ago, and this is linked to the rising tide of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease.

In the Western world, we are living through a sleep deprivation epidemic and it is having a major impact on our health and wellbeing. Latest research suggests that we are getting between one and two hours less sleep today than we were getting 60 years ago, and this is linked to the rising tide of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies show that people who have a bad night’s sleep are much more likely to have elevated insulin resistance the following day, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. I have many patients who have type 2 diabetes and changing their diet and exercise patterns has resulted only in limited benefits. It is only when they manage their sleep better, that their blood sugar levels start to improve.

There are a whole host of reasons why, many of which we can’t easily control, but it is now essential that we turn back the clock and prioritise sleep.

People do work long hours and stress is a quick way to ensure a sleepless night. The universal domination of digital media and social messaging have made our working days even longer. In the past, before social media took over, you would get home from work and relax in front of the TV, with no interruptions from friends, colleagues and clients. You couldn’t go to bed and catch up with your work emails. Now, it is hard to switch off. For me personally, I do try my best to switch off my devices at 9pm and don’t turn them back on until 1 hour after I have woken up the next morning. It can be unsettling at first, but the pay off is much better quality sleep which makes you feel refreshed. I call it ’No Tech 90’, that is that I don’t use devices 90 minutes before I’m planning to go to sleep and I recommend this principle to everyone.  It’s not just that scrolling through content and surfing online makes your brain go into overdrive just when it needs to be closing down. Blue wavelength light from computers, tablets and phones is also a major disruptor of our body’s circadian rhythm which maintains a healthy sleep and waking cycle. This is because the blue-light reduces the production of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin, promoting wakefulness. It is also important to set the daylight wakefulness part of this cycle by making sure you get out in natural daylight for at least 20 minutes every morning. If you go outside on a sunny day, you are exposed to around 30,000 lux units of light. On a cloudy day, that drops to 10,000 lux units, but inside a brightly lit office, you are only exposed to a paltry 500 luck units, which has very little effect on your hormone regulation.

Another way to rapidly improve your quality of sleep is limit the amount of caffeine in your diet. Caffeine is actually found in many drinks and products we eat without thinking about the ingredients. For example, healthy green tea contains quite high levels of caffeine, as does chocolate, OTC flu medication and energy drinks.

Another way to rapidly improve your quality of sleep is limit the amount of caffeine in your diet. Caffeine is actually found in many drinks and products we eat without thinking about the ingredients. For example, healthy green tea contains quite high levels of caffeine, as does chocolate, OTC flu medication and energy drinks.

Many people will say that they have drunk five cups of coffee a day without any ill effects, but our tolerance threshold can change throughout life. My general rule of thumb is enjoy your caffeine before noon but avoid it afterwards.

Have a bedroom routine, just as you would do for your children. Don’t eat sugary foods near bedtime and a soothing book about gardening is probably better than a violent thriller if you want calm, relaxing sleep. Even watching the 10 o’clock news could leave you feeling anxious and distressed so wait until morning to get your fix of news. Try to schedule in tough talks with your partner during daylight hours, rather than just before bed. It is amazing how many people leave the difficult stuff until they are brushing their teeth. Protect the Golden Hour just before bed and keep it free from strain and arguments if you possibly can.
A lot of people say that alcohol helps you sleep but it is only helping sedate you and it does not promote the good quality, restorative sleep that lasts until morning. In fact, it makes it much more likely that your sleep will be fragmented, you will wake up in the small hours, very likely feeling dehydrated and needing to go to the loo. For many of my patients, cutting out their evening glass of wine has had a profound and immediate effect on the quality of their sleep.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee will be appearing on ITV’s Lorraine talk show on Monday and Thursday mornings talking about Sleep Revolution which is part of his bestselling book, The Four Pillar Plan.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

As seen on @BBCOne show DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE "Lifestyle and Nutrition is the cornerstone of good health"

His mission is to help 100 million people feel fantastic by restoring them to optimal health.

http://www.drchatterjee.com
Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Latest posts by Dr Rangan Chatterjee (see all)

Share:  

More in this category

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "The Sleep Revolution"

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
R.Ross
Member

If you want good sleep do the following:

1. Go to bed no later than 10.30.
2. Ensure bed linen is natural fibres which breathe so you do not overheat. Also ensure weight and warmth suits you.
3. Do not watch television in bed. Better still, no television in the room.
4. No electronic equipment of any kind in the bedroom, or, if it must be, turn off everything at the socket before going to bed.
5. Do not read or watch television in bed.
6. Sleeping naked means you are less likely to be woken by twisted pyjamas.