Nat S Ford (natf) wrote,
Nat S Ford

Interesting sleep questionnaires - I already knew some of this

Sleep Profiler
Daily Rhythm Test

My Profiler Results:

Your profile summary

Your sleep is not well optimised, scoring 20 %...
...and you said you have a problem with sleep. If you are falling asleep during normal activities during the day, you should see your doctor.

Body and Health

You are an "Owl"
You are built to be at your best later in the day. Surprisingly, it also means your body clock is more flexible than people with standard or lark-like body clocks.
Ideally, people should wake at the same time everyday, but being an owl, you can probably cope quite well when your sleep pattern is disrupted.
How to boost your alertness
You seem to be quite tired during the day.
One way of treating the symptom is to nap in the afternoon. The body is designed this way - most of us have a natural dip in alertness at roughly 2-4pm.
A 15 minute nap when you're tired can be a very effective way of staying alert throughout the day. But sleep longer than 20 minutes and you'll enter the stage called Slow Wave Sleep (or 'deep' sleep), and you'll feel very groggy when you wake.
You would benefit from getting more advice
Your answers suggest that health issues are affecting your sleep. A doctor can give you more advice about why you're not sleeping well.
Snoring can be a serious problem
Severe snoring can be a serious problem: if you gag or gasp for breath when sleeping, it can mean that you wake 100 times an hour without realising (you have to be awake for at least 30 seconds to remember waking).
Lying on your back will make you more likely to snore. Try sleeping in different positions if you can
Severe snoring could be due to a condition called sleep apnea. Apnea occurs when your body is struggling to get air into your lungs because something is restricting the airway. The restriction could come from the weight of fat around the neck, the shape of your chin, or simply very relaxed neck muscles (often induced by alcohol).
For this reason, taking sleeping pills to combat snoring may only make it worse, as they will relax the muscles round the neck. Sleeping pills are considered ineffective as a treatment for snoring. Get advice from your doctor if snoring is a significant problem for you as there are simple and reliable cures available through sleep specialists - and don't worry, surgery is seldom an effective solution.

Your bedroom should be mainly for sleep
Sleep experts recommend that bedrooms should be for rest, relaxation and a good night's sleep.
If getting to sleep is a problem, remove distractions from your bedroom if you can. If you use your mobile telephone as an alarm clock, try to turn off the mobile to avoid getting any late night calls or text messages. The alarm clock function still works when the mobile is off.
A comfortable bed could improve your sleep.
One thing that could be keeping you awake is your bed. It's not necessary to change your bed every three years as some people advocate, but it should be comfortable.
New research shows that an 'orthopaedic' mattress (a hard one) is often not best for people with back problems. Ignore the hardness, and choose something you're comfortable on. Test out a range of mattresses by lying on each for about 20 minutes.
Think about what you wear in bed as well - natural fabrics such as cotton that allow your body to breath are best.
Foam and synthetic fibre mattresses retain body heat and act like ovens. This will raise body temperature and make sleep lighter. Natural fibres such as cotton and wool will help keep the body at a more even temperature.
Duvets come in different tog ratings and it's advisable to use the appropriate one during different times to the year. 4.5 tog is a light duvet and ideal for summer. 12 - 13.5 gives extra warmth in the winter. 9 - 10.5 tog offers medium warmth and can be used all seasons.
Making your bedroom more comfortable
As you've noticed, temperature has a big influence on how well you sleep. The body needs to cool by about 0.5°C at the start of sleep.
If the weather's too hot, it will be difficult to cool, even by this small amount. Keep the window open and buy a fan.
If it's too cold, your body will be working extra hard to produce heat, keeping your core temperature up.
Think about what you wear in bed. Breathable natural materials such as cotton are best for comfort.

Your work hours don't suit your natural rhythm.
You're an "owl" (i.e. best in the evening) but you have to get up early - a difficult combination.
To help in the morning try leaving your bedroom curtains open, allowing the natural light to wake you up (this works best in summer of course). As soon as possible after waking, follow this up with a walk outside. Exposure to daylight can help you feel more awake and alert. In winter, try to become active and busy as soon as possible.
Getting up at the same time every day helps to anchor your body clock to a time more suited to your life style. This includes weekends and holidays; resisting the urge for a lie-in can pay dividends in alertness.
Routine can also help alleviate the effects of not being at your best in the morning. Try setting the breakfast table and preparing your work things the night before. That way, on the following morning you carry out all the tasks without needing too much brain power.
Exercise routines can help
Regular exercise is a great way of improving your sleep - but be careful not to exercise close to bed time as this produces stimulants that stop the brain from relaxing quickly.
You know what works.
Well done - the things you do to help you sleep should be working - did you know there are real scientific reasons?
A warm bath offers a chance to relax (vital for a good night’s sleep) and in a more practical way, it makes the blood vessels in your extremities dilate and help cool the body.
There's new evidence that hormones released during sexual activity can promote sleep.
There are things you can do to improve your sleep
Health has a direct impact on sleep.
Exercise is a good way of improving your the start to the day. But if you exercise too close to bed time, it will make it difficult for you to sleep. After a heavy workout, your muscles may be tired, but muscles only need to rest, not sleep. Your brain will be too stimulated to calm down quickly
Smoking and alcohol also affect your sleep - causing you to wake more easily out of light sleep (a stage of sleep that occurs for about half a normal night's sleep)
Have you considered caffeine as a way to increase your alertness?
Sleep experts say caffeine is a safe, natural chemical that acts as a stimulant so is good way to alleviate tiredness.
However, the effect only kicks in after about 20 minutes - so beware if driving - it won't make you any safer until it is in your system. (The psychological effect of drinking caffeine is probably instantaneous, but only makes you feel more alert).
Either as an alternative, or in combination, to alleviate tiredness, you could try napping for 15 minutes - test show a 30% improvement in concentration when you have a coffee and a nap.

How to get past your worries and get to sleep

As you've spotted, trying to sleep when worried is very difficult, so it would be a good idea to try some techniques to help you relax before trying to sleep.
Having a time to calm down after a hectic day is important - try taking a bath, reading a book or taking a gentle walk outside.
Simple breathing exercises can also help
Some people find that Lavender oil, Valerian or other herbs help them to sleep.
If you still have problems, you could try massage, aromatherapy or acupuncture.

Sleep information created with Jim Horne and Clare Anderson of Loughborough University

My Rhythm Results:
Your natural rhythm cycle

This chart shows your natural rhythm of alertness and sleepiness over a 24 hour period.

Research into morning and evening types has been done by Professor Jim Horne at Loughborough University, who has produced these graphs by comparing your data to the national profiles.

Why does the chart dip?

Having a siesta seems to be hard-wired into us. Most of us have a natural dip in the early afternoon - this is controlled by your body clock (not by how much you eat at lunch).
Morning people (Larks) have a longer and more obvious afternoon dip than evening people (Owls).
After a poor night's sleep, your afternoon dip would be more noticeable. Your graph would be one notch lower - something you should bear in mind if driving in the afternoon.
Can I affect the dips?

Everyone's natural dip is made worse by alcohol - drinking at lunch time seems to have more of an effect than in the evening.
Afternoon tiredness can be overcome by coffee or a 20 minute nap (ideally both, since caffeine takes 20 minutes before it gets through your system).
If you like to limit your caffeine intake, you may want to save your quota for when you experience your natural dip.

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