BEAUTY SLEEP: A lack of rest can cause serious problems

SLEEPING BEAUTY: Avoiding alcohol often helps improve sleep, as does exercise, which also reduces overall stress levels. Photo: Shutterstock

IT HAS been said many times that in order to look and feel our best we need our, ‘beauty sleep.’

However, recent research suggests that not getting enough rest can lead to more issues than simple irritability or bags under our eyes.

An alarming new study suggested that some sleeping tablets- used by millions who struggle to drop off- would cause most people to sleep through a fire alarm. The report, compiled by Japanese researchers and published in Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience, showed that many commonly-prescribed sleeping pills kept around half of the study’s participants asleep through a range of loud noises, including someone vacuuming next to their bed.

So given this news- as well as the other concerns a lack of sleep could compromise our immune systems, lead to overeating, and even damage our hearts- what other ways are there to help us get enough sleep?

The National Sleep Foundation suggests there are several other alternatives to taking medication, including sticking to a sleep schedule and going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, even at weekends.

The organisation also suggests putting in place a relaxing bedtime routine, such as taking a bath with aroma therapeutic oils, and avoiding reading the news or watching anything energetic for several hours before you try to get to sleep.

The environment in your bedroom is also important, and the National Sleep Foundation suggests making sure the temperature is not too warm, which may wake you up later, and that bedding, mattresses, and pillows are all comfortable.

Finally, avoiding alcohol often helps improve sleep, as does exercise, which also reduces overall stress levels.

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