Sleepless in Britain

Are you feeling groggy, grumpy and generally rubbish? You’re not alone. A new study has revealed that we Brits are losing a whopping 30 days of sleep each year. That’s more than a February!

The study, commissioned by an app called Lingo, found that the average person gets only six hours of shut-eye a night, two hours less than the NHS recommends. Although I don’t know if you have ever tried to get sleep in an NHS ward. They need to get their own house in order.

But why are we so bad at sleeping? Is it the stress of work, the lure of Netflix, or the constant fear of missing out on something more exciting than counting sheep? It depends on if you’re into sheep, I suppose.

According to Dr Noreen Nguru, a doctor and sleep specialist, there are ten common bedtime habits that are ruining our chances of a good night’s rest. And some of them might surprise you. But I hope not because I surprise can’t help you sleep either.

Did you know that reading before bed can actually keep you awake? Dr Nguru says: “Anything that elevates your heart rate and stress hormones – even a passionate discussion – can make it tough to fall asleep.” You need a boring book? I’m still selling mine on Amazon.

Another thing you might be doing wrong is using the wrong toothpaste. Apparently, strong mint-based products can stimulate your brain and make you alert, just like a cup of coffee. Try rohypnol flavour instead.

But don’t get too cosy in bed, especially if you have a partner. Dr Nguru warns that having lots of sex before bed can actually make you too hot to sleep. But on the other hand you would have just had some sex, so stop complaining.

And finally, don’t skip the cuppa. Contrary to popular belief, drinking tea won’t stop you from sleeping, as long as you don’t drink it too close to bedtime. In fact, a 2020 study found that tea drinkers in Northern Ireland slept longer and better than those in the South West, who drank less tea. Dr Nguru says that tea contains properties that reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Hang on. Surely sex also reduces stress and promotes relaxation though. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong. Or making tea wrongly.

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