Men's health week: sleep

Not getting enough quality sleep is tough and it only gets harder to cope with rather than easier. How does this effect men particularly? Many men tend to view sleep as a bonus rather than an essential part of their healthy living plan. But sleep is when the body regenerates and recharges and if we don't get enough we could be under-performing in every single area of life. The problem is that men sometimes see missing sleep as a bit of a toughness test and think nothing of scraping by on a very few hours and then relying on a steady stream of caffeine and sugary snacks to pep them up through the day.

The limitation of this approach is that it causes the body to run on adrenalin from the moment you leap into action, leading to lack of focus and only serving to delay the inevitable crash. It also compounds the problem of getting a good night's sleep following each day like this and a vicious circle of poor sleep quickly establishes itself. The solution? 1. Plan for quality sleep from the moment you step out of bed. Everything you eat, drink and do during the day will positively or negatively affect your sleep later. Make choices that promote health and energy. 2. Eat regularly throughout the day so that your body runs off good fuel rather than adrenalin. You'll find your energy levels are much more consistent this way. 3. Get active during the day to dissipate any adrenalin that your body produces. This will help you stay calm and focused and will help you sleep at night. 4. It's an obvious question but do you know how much sleep you need? When you've worked it out, pick your bed time and your wake time and stick to a routine no matter what. Sleep works in cycles. If your alarm goes off when you are in a deep sleep you'll find it difficult to wake up. By sticking to the appropriate routine you can ensure you benefit from 4 or 5 complete sleep cycles and time it right so that your alarm goes off when you are sleeping lightly so you wake up refreshed and raring to go.