A new study has revealed how reading a book, having a bath and watching a film are among the favourite ways Brits help themselves get to sleep.
The study, which took into account the sleeping habits of 2,000 adults, found over half of those surveyed, often had their sleep disrupted by worries about work, finances, and of their relationships.
To calm down after a stressful day people enjoy having a glass of milk, writing a to-do list for the following day and cleaning their bedroom.
They also meditate, jump in the shower or count sheep to unwind before bed, with it generally taking as long as 31 minutes for us to get over the stress of the day.
Sleep expert, Dr Neil Stanley, said stress is a common factor in many cases where people struggle to get a good night’s sleep.
There are many studies around stress and sleep and this research is interesting in that it highlights some of the measures people will take to combat lack of sleep.
But many of these methods are just short-term fixes.
What people need to do is get into a regular bedtime routine, which could include their favourite de-stressing activity, as long as it becomes a habit so the brain recognises it as a sleep trigger.
Interestingly, a lot of us take steps to unwind and relax which aren’t actually helpful, and in fact, have the opposite effect, such as drinking a tea, eating chocolate or drinking alcohol.
Dr Stanley explained:
Some things which appear innocent enough, such as tea and chocolate, can make it more difficult to fall asleep because they contain stimulants. Although alcohol can help you fall asleep, it’s known to disturb sleep in the later part of the night.
Food, alcohol and drinks that contain stimulants like caffeine should be avoided as part of your de-stress, pre-bed routine.
Simple things that trigger early memories of bedtime are usually more effective, such as a warm bubble bath, glass of milk or writing a to-do list.
The study into how we unwind at the end of the day amid the pressures of modern life was commissioned by Sleep Well Milk who found nearly two-thirds of those who took part, said they’re generally good at de-stressing themselves.
However, nearly half of those polled admitted they ‘get stressed easily’, with as many as 44 per cent confessing to ‘tossing and turning’ through the night due to stress.
The research also revealed adults admitted to feeling ‘stressed’ at least three times daily for over one-fifth of their day and three quarters wish they were less stressed.
It was also discovered the top causes of stress include running late, arguments or deadlines at work.
Sam Watts from Sleep Well Milk said:
The research has shown how many of us use quite traditional methods in order to get to sleep, with a number of Britons struggling to get a good night’s sleep due to stress.
A good bedtime routine is vital in getting a solid night’s rest, so it’s important to make time to unwind before hitting the pillow.
We are creatures of habit and from our earliest days we are encouraged to follow a routine of ‘bath, warm milk and bed’ but as we get older we tend to forget that and wonder why we are not ready to sleep when we climb under the duvet.
Interestingly, people de-stress in different ways and at different rates across the UK.
For example, Scots take 50 per cent longer to de-stress than Londoners, whereas having to cook a meal causes Welsh people half as much stress as those living in the East Midlands.
Driving is a lot less stressful for people living in Northern Ireland than it is in the South West of England.
Makes sense to us.
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More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.