You know the drill. You glance at the TV schedule and spot a documentary about sleep. Hoping that this will be the one that finally contains that revelation to put an end to your insomnia, you settle down to watch. An hour later you wondered why the hell you bothered – it was just more of the same obvious stuff you’ve heard – and tried – countless times before. Would ‘The Truth About Sleep’ be worth investing an hour of my time in?
I was reassured to see that this particular programme was fronted by Dr Michael Mosley; he of the 5:2 diet fame. While I’ve never possessed the self-restraint to give fasting a go (I’ve witnessed colleagues attempting to get through a full day’s work on a boiled egg and a handful of green beans. What kind of madness is that?!), I respect the Doc for his ability to delve into the really complicated stuff without making scientific dullards like me reach for the remote. So, I decided it was worth a shot.
There’s nowt like some scary stats to get the viewer’s attention. I generally consider myself to be a pretty healthy person. I mean, I’m not Ella Whatserface or anything, but neither do I have the local takeaway on speed dial. But knowing that my consistent failure to bag more than six hours’ sleep a night could eventually cause me to develop type 2 diabetes and/or obesity is making me think that insomnia is not something I should just accept as part of my life – as I have done for so long. This is something that I need to act on.
Luckily, Dr Mosley wasn’t just out to scare the bejesus out of insomniacs everywhere. He actually had some suggestions for how we could all attempt to take control of our affliction, before it takes control of us. While it’s unlikely that many of us will be able to take (or afford!) a leisurely trip to the Baltic coast to re-tune our body clocks in a house made of glass, most of us live near somewhere that sells kiwis, right? And, onerous as it may seem (even for a veggie like me), eating more hummus and lentils must be worth it, for a better night’s sleep. Hell, this might even be the nudge I need to finally climb aboard the mindfulness train. Although these methods were only tried on a really small sample, the results were undoubtedly encouraging.
So was it worth investing an hour of my time in? I’ll let you know when I’ve given a few of these new tips a go. First of all, I’m off to find myself a spoon and a tray. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can check out The Truth About Sleep on the iplayer here.
Watch this space for details of how I get on – and if any of the methods mentioned in the programme have worked for you, why not leave a comment below…
Thanks for reading.