How often do you find yourself writing sleep prescriptions for your patients? I do – frequently. I’ll include in my recommendations something like – ‘nap for 20 minutes every alternate day’ or, ‘commit to getting into bed 1 hour earlier 3 nights this week’ or ‘establish a bedtime routine for yourself – something that loosely follows the winning formula of bath, book, bed’.
You see I reckon we humans have tricked ourselves into thinking we can negotiate our way out of almost everything: good food choices, adequate clean water, perpetual motion etc. I mean often people come to us looking for the shortcut let’s be honest…e.g. “I’m not great with the food side so what should I be taking??”
But when it comes to matters of slumber I explain to my patients that sleep sufficiency (both quantitatively & qualitatively) is non-negotiable in the health equation. To put it another way, sufficient sleep is Wellbeing 101, step 1!
I don’t have anything I can prescribe that can make up for a shortfall…seriously…just a prescription for more sleep!
We all know lots of people are going to tell us…”CAFFEINE…you idiot!”, but apart from the myth that caffeine genuinely compensates for inadequate sleep, I’m actually on Pete Evans’ side when he says, if you need caffeine that means you ultimately need to identify & resolve an imbalance.
From working extensively in Corporate Health in Australia I can tell you the problem is vast, with most company’s employees reporting sleep of < 7hrs a night during the week. According to research on what constitutes adequate healthy sleep (minimum of 7.5hrs/night) this isn’t it! And by the way, the research also suggests that women physically require on average 1 hour more per night…call it beauty sleep if you like but I’m definitely playing this card next time there’s dishes to be done late at night 😉
Many of my patients LOVE their sleep prescription, they put it up on the fridge –for everyone to see, they reread it several times themselves, relishing the very concept…she says I must have a nap. It’s amazing the privileged role we’re awarded by our fabulous patients & the reward you can feel when you get someone back walking the path towards true wellness, punctuated by little naps along the way 🙂