A Doctor has shared six key tips you can use to help you boost your sleep. 

Despite having a good night's rest being a vital element of a healthy routine, one-third of Brits reportedly suffer from poor sleep.

From our brains and hearts to lungs and metabolism, sleep affects almost every tissue and system in the body.

When you don't get enough rest, your mood, immune function and even resistance to disease will also be affected.

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How much sleep do I need?

Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night, according to Medical Director at home blood-test provider Medichecks, Dr Natasha Fernando.

The Doctor has explained how poor sleep can lead to sleep deficiency which can be dangerous long-term. 

The expert has also debunked common myths about sleep, and explained how to improve your sleep quality so you can feel your best.  

Why can't I sleep? These are the main causes

The Doctor explained just some of the reasons for sleep deficiency, including:

  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Disrupted sleep or not sleeping long enough
  • Daytime naps, meaning your body clock is out of sync
  • Having a sleep disorder that prevents you from getting enough sleep or causes poor sleep quality

The expert also went on to explain what the wider causes of a bad night's sleep could be.

What causes a bad night's sleep?

1. Mental health

Your mental health and quality of sleep are closely linked, according to the Doctor.

The expert added: "Poor mental health may affect your ability to get to sleep, and poor sleep can affect how you feel the next day.

"If you find it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up earlier than you would like to, then you may be experiencing insomnia.

"Panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, or psychosis can disturb you when you are asleep, and low mood or low self-esteem may mean it is hard for you to wake up or get out of bed".

Dr Fernando also elaborated that poor sleep could also be down to stress and suggested Medichecks’ Stress Cortisol Saliva Tests that can help you to understand your stress levels over the day and help to see if your cortisol could be affecting your wellbeing, or sleep pattern.

2. Shift work

Night workers reportedly make up 12% of the UK workforce.

The Doctor warned: "If you work shifts, your sleeping pattern and circadian timing can become affected.

"Long-term, 10-30% of shift workers are diagnosed with shift work sleep disorder, where they have experienced chronic sleep and circadian disruptions.

The expert also pointed out that sleep and circadian timing are both essential biological processes that affect many aspects of physical and mental health.

She continued: "Working shifts can heighten your risk of sleep problems, occupational and driving accidents, and health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

"People who work shifts tend to have shorter and poorer quality sleep during the day".

The Doctor urged those who work shifts, take extra care to make sure you are getting enough quality sleep.

Glasgow Times: How much sleep does an adult need? ( Getty Images)How much sleep does an adult need? ( Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

3. Environment

Using electronic devices in the hours before bed can lead to disrupted sleep, according to Dr Fernando.

The expert also noted some other environmental factors that may influence sleep, including:

  • Temperature – We sleep best when our environment is colder than usual at night. If your room is too warm, then it may be affecting your sleep.
  • Noise – Limit noise around you. If this is not an option, try listening to music that has binaural beats at a delta frequency of 3hz – the same wavelengths that your body emits during deep sleep.
  • Too much light – If it is too bright, your body may resist falling asleep. A black-out blind or sleep mask can help. Limiting blue light an hour before bedtime can also help with getting better sleep.
  • Safety – Sleeping can make you feel very vulnerable. Make sure you know that your doors are locked, and your house is safe before falling to sleep.
  • Eating or drinking too close to bed – avoid alcohol or eating a large meal close to bed. Alcohol is likely to cause disruptions to your sleep cycle by blocking REM sleep, interrupting your natural sleep-wake rhythm, its diuretic effect (multiple trips to the bathroom), and poor temperature control.

How to sleep better

You can also take steps to improve your sleep by following these 6 tips from Dr Fernando:

Exercise during the day - 20-30 minutes of exercise a day can help you feel tired later on but do not exercise too close to your bedtime. 

Avoid bright lights and loud sounds before bed – avoid watching TV and using your phone in your bedroom as the blue light can affect your circadian rhythm, keeping you awake.

Do not lie in bed wake – if you're tossing and turning, try relaxation techniques, reading a book or listening to a podcast until you feel tired. 

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Take time to wind down – take a warm bath, write a list to organise your thoughts, or listen to relaxing music can help you wind down and decompress after a busy day.

Avoid caffeine – switch to de-caff drinks from about midday onwards and avoid caffeine in the evening before going to bed.

Have a consistent sleep schedule – Going to bed and waking at the same time every day can help sync your circadian rhythm and help you get a better quality of sleep.

Even if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, make sure you still get up at the same time. That includes weekends, too.