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  • Vicki Beevers

Is poor sleep affecting your health?

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The Sleep Charity

If you are struggling with sleepless nights, you are not alone. Up to 40% of the population have sleep issues and those working in the small charity sector may be particularly at risk.

Poor sleep affects all areas of your health and wellbeing. When you don’t sleep well over a prolonged period of time, your bodies don’t have enough time to rest and restore so you start to see that manifest in physical and mental health issues.

Just one bad night’s sleep affects our mood, concentration and alertness while long-term sleep deprivation has far more serious consequences: it’s been linked to a number of serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

A good night’s sleep can help us fight off minor ailments, deal better with depression and even tackle weight problems.

Vicki Beevers, CEO of The Sleep Charity and Co-Chair of the Small Charity Advisory Panel, says: “Small charities are under a great deal of pressure, particularly because of the current economic climate. There is little wonder that those working in the sector are finding it increasingly difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Long working hours, worry about future funding and increasingly complex cases are all issues that we hear about affecting individual’s sleep.”

The Sleep Charity’s latest survey found that almost one in five UK adults (16 per cent) regularly sleep poorly, with worry and stress as the most common obstacle to a good night. Close to half (44 per cent) cited this as a factor in them struggling to nod off.

Stress causes the heart rate to go up and in turn the mind starts to ‘race’. This causes the brain to become too alert and stimulated to sleep. If sleep deprivation mounts up, people start getting sleepy during the day, they find it more difficult to make decisions, make more mistakes, have shorter tempers, slower reflexes and so on.

Bad habits also play a huge part – from not eating well, not exercising enough, alcohol and caffeine consumption, irregular sleep schedules and overusing technology in the hours before bed. Being ‘over connected’ has become a major issue in the past few years due to the advances in technology. Too many of us check emails, social media or browse the internet in the hour before bed.

Our new adult sleep eBook ‘Understanding Your Sleep’ is a free resource that explains what sleep is, common issue and provides advice and guidance to support good sleeping habits.

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