This weekend the clocks are changing and I think we can all agree that this is
a blessed relief – winter, we are done with you – go, walk out the door, and don’t let it hit you on the way out. It is now that we all come out of hibernation and start feeling a little perkier about getting up in the morning, but despite the longer hours of daylight a lie in remains in our top – I was going to say ten, but realistically it’s probably in our top five favourite things – and with good reason; sleep is not just for beauty’s sake, it’s seriously important!
Why we need it: Essentially we don’t know why, but sleep is necessary for maintaining normal levels of cognitive skills such as speech, memory, and innovative and flexible thinking. In other words, you would be incoherent without it.
What can prevent it: It’s a bit of a vicious cycle because lots of the things that can cause sleeplessness can also be the result of a lack of sleep which is extremely helpful – depression, worry, anxiety, certain medications, general health problems, stress, asthma, and allergies can all take their toll on your REM cycle.
Mental effects of sleeplessness: As if you need our help to suss this one out, a lack of sleep can lead to grumpiness, grogginess, irritability and forgetfulness; it’s also inextricably linked with depression and horrifyingly has been the primary cause of some appauling accidents.
Physical effects of sleeplessness: Perhaps not quite as obviously a lack of sleep can have some less than pleasing physical side effects as well. It can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, it will kill your sex drive, and horror of all horrors it can be a big contributor to weight gain because we not only do we tend to eat more when we are tired we also veer more easily towards sugary and fatty foods in a vain attempt to find a quick energy boost.
So, what can you do about it? Well, tricky customer that it is, when sleep is elusive it’s treatment is extremely personal and in many cases a doctor should be consulted, but there are some little things you can do to at least put you into the right frame of mind …
Stress: Lavender oil has a long standing reputation for aiding relaxation, so an aromatherapy massage using lavender essential oils will target stress from both a physical and emotional angle. Try the Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience at K West Hotel and Spa in London – which can be tailored to your needs.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Sometimes it is as simple as not having the right
environment to wind down, and it is only the lucky few who can fall asleep just anywhere. One place you are guaranteed to get some peace and quiet is the Dry Floatation Experience at The Cube in Birmingham which again can be tailored to suit you.
General MOT : It is hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that chases sleep away, but sometimes you just don’t feel quite right, and that can be enough – an ache here, a few too many nights out – whatever … Thalassotherapy is an extension of hydrotherapy with the added benefits of using marine elements and 35 and 37º C heat which has a generally restorative effect on the skin and body as well as targeting stress and skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis. Try visiting the Thalasso spa at Grande Real Villa Italia … it’s so beautiful that to be honest the whole experience is likely to have a healing effect.
Anxiety: A good old deep tissue massage is a pretty good start for treating anxiety and the VOYA Seaweed Massage at Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour is a full body experience that gives you enough time to really get the most out of it. The iodine in the oils from the seaweed are also great for detox (all that rubbish we pick up from daily life has a habit of contributing to stress and anxiety), and as VOYA also do a range of herbal teas served by the venue you can add on a camomile tea to the experience as well which in itself is known to reduce anxiety and aid sleep.
Just Because: Finally there are times when actually all you need is an excuse for a little pampering, and although you might not think it with a manicure, the Angel Hands treatment at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel had us falling asleep in the middle of the morning when we visited – never underestimate the power of an hour long hand exfoliation, mask and massage.
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