Nothing beats a good night’s sleep

NOT getting enough shut-eye could be seriously damaging your health.

Despite the possibly sleep-inducing qualities of this column, you may still find it difficult to get a good night’s kip.

Personally, I feel like an alien being if I lose a few hours’ sleep.

But yet another disturbing report suggests that too many of us are yawning away our working days for lack of a proper night’s sleep.

Britain is apparently near the top of an international league table for sleep deprivation, with an estimated third of us not getting enough kip.

And there is more at risk than the occasional yawn while sitting in front of a computer.

A lack of sleep is a risk factor for serious health problems, such as stroke and heart disease.

The Bible says that “the sleep of a labouring man is sweet,” but too many of us are putting our health at risk by not switching off under our duvets.

Experts reckon that the best guarantee of good quality shut-eye is to work five days a week and sleep seven to eight hours a night.

But a study of more than 38,700 staff working for companies such as telecoms giant O2 suggests a third of those questioned were not getting enough sleep.

While experts say that most of us should ideally enjoy between seven and eight hours sleep a night, only 38.5 per cent of those questioned did so.

Most got by on between five and seven hours sleep at night, while 5.4 per cent of those in the survey existed on less than five hours.

Granted, there are some people whose body clocks mean they can operate on far less than the standard sleep quota – Margaret Thatcher being a famous example while she was PM – but most of us simply need a good night’s kip.

Those prone to bad sleep patterns include smokers, those who suffer from migraines or high blood pressure and people who take little exercise.

The study by Vielife, which carried out the major sleep survey between 2009 and 2011, found that people who drank scored higher for a good night’s kip than teetotallers.

Researchers also uncovered a very close relationship between depression and poor sleep. So what’s to be done to boost our sleep levels?

Cutting out TV and computers just before hitting the sack is advised, plus reading a book and making sure your bedroom is dark and quiet also helps.

But there are almost as many tips and quotations about sleep as there are stars in the sky.

An old Irish proverb states that a good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.

But don’t try laughing yourself to sleep tonight – you may wake up the rest of the house.