Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services
Hello and welcome to this week’s Wellbeing Wednesday. Now that we are in the middle of March, I am feeling ridiculously excited to see the first bursts of colour outside as the daffodils, primroses and blossoms start to bloom. In a world that feels a little grey and a bit scary at the moment, these small positive things really can give you a lift.
And there is nothing like having had a great night’s sleep to give you a lift! I had no idea there was such a thing as national sleep day, but there is and it is happening this Friday 18th March. That doesn’t mean that you all get a duvet day, though, I’m sorry to say… but you can take some of our tips to make sure that this Friday, as well as getting a great night’s sleep, you start some healthier habits for sleeping from now on.
In the theme of getting a bit of a lift now that it is springtime, this week also sees International Day of Happiness! So ‘get your happy on’ and do something to give yourself a happiness boost or make someone else happy. And on that note, I am off to smile at my cheery little daffs J and maybe take a couple of photos so share the happiness. See you next week!
World Sleep Day 18th March
World Sleep Day is the annual celebration of healthy sleeping patterns and awareness day for sleep disorders. This year’s theme is ‘Quality Sleep, Sound Mind, Happy World’.
The NHS state that nearly one in three of us suffer from poor sleep. And the Mental Health Foundation found that nearly (48%) of UK adults agreed that sleeping badly has a negative effect on their mental health.
Quality sleep is essential to good mental health and living a happy life. It’s important we take time to raise awareness of this, and World Sleep Day is a good time to do so. Learn more about sleep and its impacts below.
Impact of lack of sleep
Sleep is a vital part of our mental and physical wellbeing. Although opinions vary as to how much you need, it’s recommended that 7-9 hours per night is right for most adults. This varies between individuals, some of us need more and some less, but we can all recognise the difference when we have had enough sleep to feel refreshed, recharged and ready for the day ahead.
You are probably already aware of the impact a poor night’s sleep can have, but it can affect many aspects of our physical and mental health. For example:
Physical health: Poor sleep can have a serious impact on our physical health. A lack of sleep can make it harder to think clearly, reduce immunity, cause weight loss issues and lead to increased risks of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Mental health and wellbeing: Research has shown that a poor night’s sleep can reduce our ability to manage our emotions, impact on impulse control, reduce positive thinking, increase worry and lead to or worsen depression.
How do I make a change?
Improve your routine and make sleep a priority: Think about your day and try to keep to the same time for getting up and going to bed. Even if you are tired, try to reduce or remove naps from your routine, if you really need a rest, then try to keep it to no more than 45 minutes.
Increase exposure to natural light: Natural sunlight or bright light during the day will help you keep your circadian rhythm healthy, which in turn, will have positive effects on your mental health.
Exercise: One of the most effective ways to improve your sleep, exercise can help relieve the tension built up over the day and relax your mind. Try to avoid exercise late in the evenings, as it may have the opposite effect.
Think about your food and drink: Avoid eating heavy meals, sugary or spicy foods in the four hours before bed. Also, try to reduce your caffeine, especially in the six hours before you go to sleep.
Preparing your sleep space:
Make your bedroom a calm & welcoming safe space for sleep:
You may want soft bedding or less clutter. Notice what makes you feel cosy and safe. Also, try to remove items such as TVs or electronic devices that can disrupt sleep or distract.
Try to limit noise and light: Try earplugs or headphones that can be used during sleep, eye masks or darker curtains and blinds.
Adjust the temperature to something that feels comfortable: Cooler temperatures often work best as this matches the internal body temperature drop which occurs during early stages of falling asleep.
Relax and clear your mind: Try simple stretches or mindful meditation before bed to help relax body and mind. If you prefer, then listen to relaxing music. You may find taking a bath or shower helpful.
Get help with Sleep from Health Assured
If you need to the EAP services to discuss any wellbeing concerns you may have, Health Assured’s confidential helpline is available 24/7, 365 days a year – call 0800 030 5182
Alternatively, if you have access to the My Healthy Advantage app, you can view a variety of wellbeing resources to improve your mental and physical health—sleep included. Click here for more information on downloading the App.
Improving Sleep 4 week plan – https://healthassuredeap.co.uk/four-week-programmes/
Sleep Fact Sheet and further info: https://healthassuredeap.co.uk/sleep-2/
Sleep Webinar: https://dai.ly/k2omFEA5wWRnY8wg0Sw
International Day of Happiness - 20th March
March 20th is International Day of Happiness. With our world facing unprecedented challenges and threats, our wellbeing matters more than ever.
As we continue to respond to the Covid pandemic, this year’s theme is to Build Back Happier and to make people’s overall wellbeing our top priority.
In order to achieve this, there are three ways in which you can celebrate the International Day of Happiness.
Do something for your own happiness – make time to do something you really enjoy, get moving outside, learn something new or write down three things you’re grateful for.
Do something for someone else – donate to a food bank or charity, text or call someone to tell them what you appreciate about them, volunteer in your local community.
Share the International Day of Happiness with others and help more people get involved in the day and thinking about ways to promote happiness and mental health.
Everyone’s path to happiness is different. Based on the latest research, Action for Happiness have identified 10 Keys that tend to make life happier and more fulfilling.
· Giving – Do kind things for others
· Relating – Connect with people
· Exercising – Take care of your body
· Awareness – Live life mindfully
· Trying out – Keep learning new things
· Direction – Have goals to look forward to
· Resilience – Find ways to bounce back
· Emotions – Look for what’s good
· Acceptance – Be comfortable with who you are
· Meaning – Be part of something bigger
Action for Happiness have a monthly kindness calendar, which provides ideas for small actions to help us be kinder to ourselves and others.