Released On 1st Oct 2020
Live Well, Work Well - October 2020
Fighting Back Against Insomnia During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Insomnia is one of the most common health problems in the UK. Even before the pandemic, it was known to affect millions of people.
According to a study conducted by the Centre for Population Change, the number of people suffering from sleep loss rose by approximately 9 per cent following the start of lockdown-related restrictions in March.
The increase in insomnia among Britons was even more pronounced in certain demographics. The rate of women suffering from insomnia rose from 18.9 per cent to 31.8 per cent. The increase was even greater for mothers. For those with children ages 5 to 18, the rate rose from 21.7 per cent to 38 per cent. The rate more than doubled for mothers of children ages 0 to 4, from 19.5 per cent to 40 per cent.
With the pandemic and subsequent lockdown making insomnia even more of a problem than it had already been, it is more important than ever for people to understand how to manage it.
Symptoms of insomnia include:
- Finding it hard to go to sleep
- Waking up several times during the night
- Feeling tired after waking up
- Feeling irritable
- Having difficulty concentrating due to being tired
- Waking up early and not being able to fall back asleep
The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night. In order to help alleviate insomnia, consider the following tips:
- Establish a solid sleep schedule that includes going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- Do something relaxing, such as reading, for at least one hour before going to bed.
- Keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
- Exercise during the day.
- Avoid eating a large meal close to bedtime.
- Avoid television or other electronic devices before bedtime.
- Do not smoke, or drink caffeine or alcohol at least 6 hours before going to bed.
If these steps do not help your insomnia improve, speak with your GP.
Commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This worldwide campaign involves thousands of organisations working to emphasise the importance of not only breast cancer awareness, but also education and research.
Accounting for approximately 15 per cent of all cancer cases, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Approximately one-eighth of women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.
Despite how common breast cancer may be, there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce your risk, such as:
- Watch your diet—Consume a healthy, varied diet that is low in calories, high in fruit and non-starchy vegetables, and contains little or no processed meat.
- Increase activity—Staying active can reduce your risk of breast cancer. Even moderate physical activity, such as walking to work or using the stairs instead of a lift can make a difference.
- Change your lifestyle—Certain lifestyle choices can also affect your level of risk. Quitting smoking and reducing your consumption of alcohol may reduce your chance of developing breast cancer.
- Check for chemicals—Many environmental factors, such as chemicals from certain products, may also increase risk levels. Check this list from Breast Cancer UK for ingredients that you may wish to avoid.
It is important for women of all ages to check their breasts regularly for any changes or lumps. Any concerns should be examined by a GP.
Raising Awareness for National Cholesterol Month
Each year, Heart UK recognises October as National Cholesterol Month. Throughout the month, Heart UK aims to provide education and increase awareness pertaining to the risks, causes and effects of having high cholesterol.
When a person has too much cholesterol in their blood, it can block blood vessels, leading to increased risk of suffering from heart problems or a stroke.
People with high cholesterol should consider these tips:
- Eat healthy—Fatty foods, particularly those that contain saturated fat, contribute heavily to high cholesterol.
- Exercise—The NHS recommends at least 2.5 hours of weekly exercise.
- Quit smoking—Smoking can raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
- Reduce drinking—Drink less than 14 units of alcohol per week, have several days a week during which you consume no alcohol, and especially avoid binge drinking.