Help, I've got... insomnia

  • April 25th 2014

Lack of sleep in the UK has reached epidemic proportions as one in three employees now has a sleep problem with many of us getting less than five hours sleep a night. But there are easy ways to improve things

"Utterly exhausted." Does that describe how you feel right now? Then you can take solace in the fact that you are absolutely not alone. According to new research, lack of sleep in the UK has reached epidemic proportions and experts believe that one in three employees now has a sleep problem with many of us getting less than five hours sleep a night.

Professional pillow talk

If you feel you have a sleep disorder, it’s best to see an expert for the correct diagnosis. One of the best clinics to go to is the London Sleep Centre, who also have a centre in Edinburgh. Here they will deal with many different sleep disorders from insomnia to snoring and parasomnia (behaviours that arise out of sleep such as teeth grinding, sleep terrors, sleep walking etc) as well as chronic fatigue syndrome and stress-related sleep disorders.

Depending on your problem, the highly trained doctors take an integrated approach to treatment using a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, medication where needed, and the latest in sleep and activity-monitoring technology. www.londonsleepcentre.com

The wonder of water

If you’re feeling shattered for whatever reason, it’s incredibly important to drink water. The rule of thumb is that if you’re thirsty, then you’re dehydrated which can impair your thinking and any exercise you do. Just for the record, Steve Mellor, head of personal training and nutrition at freedom2train.com, says dehydration can also slow down weight loss since the homeostasis in the body is impaired - you literally can't function without water.

Take stress-relieving supplements

According to Shabir Daya, health expert at Victoriahealth.com, the most common cause of fatigue is adrenal stress. “At times of stress, whether physical, hormonal or environmental, the adrenals over-produce cortisol.” While some cortisol is essential for daily brain, immune, muscle and blood glucose function as well as general circulation, high levels can increase fatigue and lead to reduced energy. Shabir suggests cortisol-lowering supplements that include the use of magnolia extracts and Siberian Ginseng. Try the Magnolia RhodiolaComplex by NHS Labs, www.victoriahealth.com £26

Take energy supplements

According to Shabir, lack of vitamin B12 can also lead to fatigue; and the older you get, the more likely you are to be deficient. Vitamin B12 is critical for the production of red blood cells, healthy digestion, good adrenal function and memory as well as the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. His suggestion is to take fast-acting B12 Boost Pure Energy Oral Spray, £11.95 www.victoriahealth.com

Baggage handling

Tiredness shows most around the eye area. Here at GTG we’re experts at disguising puffiness, lines and general eye wear and tear. Clinique’s All About Eyes De-Puffing Eye Massage pen, £20 www.clinique.co.ukworks wonders on under eye bags (and is lovely and cooling), whilst Garnier’s Caffeine Anti-Dark 2-in-1 Tinted EyeRoll-on is an all-time favourite for disguising dark circles (£9.99 www.boots.com). If the inner rims of your eyes are red, Benefit’s Eye Bright Instant Eye Brightener pencil, £13 will return that wide-awake look £12.60, johnlewis.com

Skin fixers

The Mask Tiredness can show on your skin. One of the best skin peps is Liz Earle’s Brightening Treatment mask, £14.25, www.uk.lizearle.com, which containing Camphor Oil (note: avoid if you have sensitive skin). Put on pre-shower and remove when you emerge to a magically brighter more glowing complexion.

The skin drink Fatigued skin will benefit from a hydration boost. Our favourite is Sarah Chapman’s Intense Hydrating Booster, £57, www.sarahchapman.net, which contains a huge boost of hyaluronic acid to pack water into the skin. Watch your skin change drink it up on application.

The primer St Tropez’s Natural’s Radiance Self Tan for Face, £21.45, www.st-tropez.com, is essential for pasty complexions since it adds a hint of bronze (very light) and a light reflecting glow

Estee Lauder’s Daywear BB cream, £32, www.esteelauder.co.uk can work wonders on a tired face, evening out skin tone, but still allowing skin to radiate through.

Exercising

“If you’re really tired,” says Steve Mellor, “then don’t push yourself with a strenuous workout or high-intensity exercise. It is benefical however to do a combination of stretches, core and mobilising exercises to get the blood pumping round the body which in turn delivers oxygen to our vital organs and our brain. Build up intensity slowly.”

Nutrition 

“Make sure your iron intake is up,” says Mellor, “It’s vital for blood to take oxygen around the body. Eat red meat and as many green leafy vegetables as you can.” Remember that you need to take in vitamin C (through leafy green vegetables or citrus fruits) when eating iron because it allows the iron to be absorbed into your system more effectively.

And finally…

Try to remove all electronics from the bedroom. The lights of computers and mobile phones have been proven to interrupt our nighttime patterns and zap quality sleep.

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