25% of the population have a form of sleep disorder making them excessively tired during the daytime.
Not everyone agrees on how much sleep we need. Napoleon, Florence Nightingale and Margaret Thatcher got by on four hours a night and Thomas Edison claimed sleep was a waste of time. There is no set amount of time we need to sleep; requirement varies from person to person but most of us need about 8 hours to keep us happy and healthy. The variation in requirement is greater still in the animal kingdom. Did you know a python needs a whopping 18 hours a day while a giraffe can get by on only 2 hours? We spend a third of our lives asleep and our cognitive function, physical health and mental wellbeing depend on us getting enough rest, so it’s a subject worth taking seriously. At the hotel it’s a bit of a science, so if you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, follow these five suggestions.
1. Relax your mind: Simple breathing exercises can help. Breathe (using your abdomen not your chest) through your nose for three seconds, then breathe out for three seconds. Pause for three seconds before breathing in again. Practise this for ten minutes at night (five minutes is better than nothing). Some people find that lavender helps them get to sleep. Look out for the lavender bags we leave on guest pillows.
2. And your body: A massage is a great way to unwind and prepare for sleep. Spa treatment appointments are available until 9pm and gentle exercise can help you relax at the end of the day. The spa is open until late for hotel guests.
3. Switch off your screen: Give yourself time before you sleep. Switch off screens and entertainment, read a book, have a bath and relax.
4. Avoid caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant which can stay in your system for many hours. So, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening and switch to a herbal tea instead. Call in-room dining for a camomile tea which is sure to make you sleepy – apparently it also relieves stress and boosts immunity.
5. And if you’re tired, take a short nap: Most of us have a natural dip in alertness between 2 - 4pm, and travelling can be especially tiring. A 15-minute nap when you're tired can be a very effective way of staying alert throughout the day. But avoid napping for longer than 20 minutes, longer than this and you’ll enter deep sleep and feel worse than you did before