Many people worry about sleep. They fret that they do not get enough sleep or that it is not the right quality. Here are my notes from a radio interview that I did on these very questions.

Why do some people sleep better than others?
– Some people cope well with the problems and pressures of life. They may be temperamentally strong and are able to switch off and compartmentalize the different areas of their life. Or they may have a good work / life balance and are able to focus on each part of their life as they are living it. They are able to have times when they work, play, relax and are able to focus on what they are doing at these times. They are mentally and physically balanced.

What factors can affect sleep?
– There are several things that can affect a person's quality of sleep. Illness can be a significant factor. Diabetes and hormonal changes can cause restlessness as can certain medicines. They disturb a person's ability to relax with a calm mind and drift off into comfortable sleep. It can be a good idea to have a check up from your doctor if there is sustained difficulty in sleeping. Often people with sleeping difficulties sleep longer than they think they do but do not feel rested when they wake up.

What is the role of stress in sleeping?
– Stress is the main cause of problems in modern life. It is the largest cause of sick leave from work. Many people have anxiety and stress caused by the volume of work they have to deal with, the pressure to perform well, concerns about keeping their job, as well as other life pressures and stresses to do with their family and personal life.

Some tips to sleep better?

– Try to organize breaks through the day so that there are opportunities to take some personal time, eat, get some fresh air and unwind at various times.

– Have regular meal breaks and be aware of the importance of a healthy diet and not eating a heavy meal too late a night. Moderate the alcohol, especially spirits late at night as they can cause disturbing dreams and restless sleep.

– Exercise is important, especially for people in desk bound jobs. Some people work hard mentally but are physically underused. Others work hard physically but do not use their mental faculties as much. Finding ways to use yourself mentally and physically can make for a better nights sleep.

– Ensure that the bedroom is comfortable, well aired, not too warm and is free from clutter. Keep it as a bedroom, not an office or a storage room. It is meant to be a comfortable place of relaxation, peace and safety.

– Try to wind down an hour or two before bed. Avoid horror films, too much time on the computer or difficult conversations too close to bedtime or they may play on your mind.

– A relaxing bath or shower can refresh you before bed. Essential oils, lavender in the final rinse cycle of your bedding and soothing music can provide a relaxing environment to relax and go to sleep in.

And remember that even if you do not actually go to sleep but just lie there relaxing in bed the body is still performing its essential tasks. It is still healing, renewing, recharging and as such there is still a lot of benefit gained from the time. When you take the pressure off yourself to sleep you find that it often comes naturally.