How to sleep well every night
Virtually everyone suffers from insomnia at some point in their life, usually when going through a period of stress. A racing mind makes it hard to get to sleep, then you tend to sleep fitfully and wake early. Next day, the lack of refreshing slumber can lead to problems concentrating, low productivity levels and anxious or irritable feelings. When the stress passes, most people return to sleeping normally. ‘But for 30 per cent, the sleeplessness continues and becomes chronic insomnia,’ says sleep physiologist Dr Guy Meadows. At his Sleep School (www.thesleepschool.org), Dr Meadows runs non-drug courses and workshops which have helped some 1,000 intractable insomniacs. He explains his programme in The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night and The Sleep School app.
The key, he says, is not to take pills or follow elaborate rituals but to ‘accept it and stop struggling. Good sleep comes about from doing nothing other than getting into bed and putting your head on the pillow. The secret is to relearn how to do precisely that – nothing.’
The principal tools are mindfulness and untangling yourself from your thoughts and emotions (which actually help your whole life). I suggest anyone with insomnia reads The Sleep Book, which is clear and practical, with lots of stories. One thing that might throw you, however, is when the clocks change next weekend. ‘The sudden loss of an hour can disrupt sleep patterns,’ says Dr Meadows. ‘Babies and young children or adults with existing sleep issues are most often affected, but everyone can benefit from these tips.’
• Reset your clock in advance. For babies, move their bedtime, meals and naps by 20 minutes every few days over this coming week. So if baby’s bedtime is 8pm, reset it to 7.40pm today, 7.20pm on Wednesday, and 7pm on Friday, so that by next Sunday there is little disruption to their body clock.
• Adults can prepare by going to bed an hour earlier next Saturday. But it’s vital to get up at your usual time on Sunday morning so you don’t confuse your body clock.
• Light your day. Light plays an important role in keeping your body clock on time: next Sunday, go out in natural light as soon as possible so your body clock knows it is morning.
• Keep active and don’t nap. A siesta can confuse your body clock further and dim your chance of restful sleep on Sunday night
• The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night by Dr Guy Meadows is published by Orion/£9.99. The Sleep School app, £2.99, from the App store
GLOWING SKIN, NATURALLY
By now, regular readers will know how important oral probiotics are for keeping your gut in good order by promoting the ‘good bugs’ so they can fight the bad ones. A healthy gut also means glowing skin. Consumer surveys in our new book The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible suggest that topical products based on probiotic technology have a dramatic effect on skin by controlling the inflammation that damages cells. Natural brand Aurelia Probiotic Skincare submitted five products to our rigorous ten-women tester panels and all five won awards. In fact, its Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser/£42 for 60 ml, notched up one of the highest scores (9.5/10) in Beauty Bible history. One delighted tester said: ‘A five-star rating: skin firmer, fine lines plumper – my husband told me, “Your skin looks amazing.”’
Victoria Health is offering the first 200 YOU readers to order any Aurelia Probiotic Skincare product a FREE Mega Probiotic-ND supplement, worth £18.50; call 0800-389 8195 or visit www.victoriahealth.com. PS You can also buy The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible at VH, price just £14.99.
WORKING WITH CANCER
Over half a million people with cancer in the UK also work. While this helps many, it also presents challenges. Living & Working With Cancer is a new directory of essential contacts, support organisations and other resources for women, compiled and funded through Cosmetic Executive Women UK (CEWUK), a nonprofit organisation of women working in the beauty industry. The directory aims to help women ‘thrive, not just survive’, covering topics such as planning for work, practicalities and wellbeing. For a free (and post-free) copy, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Cancer And Careers UK, CEW(UK), Rankin House, 139-143 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW.