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March is national bed month! Hurrah! A lie in for everybody! And… now it’s time to wake up and remember you have to go to work. But it is national bed month, so, if ever there was a good time to review your sleeping habits now is the time.

National Bed Month is supported by The Sleep Council and aims to remind everyone of the positive health benefits to a good night’s sleep.  We all know we feel better after a full undisturbed 8 hours but what can it actually do for your health. Here are our top tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

  • Re-asses your bed. If its older than you, it’s probably time to get a new one! In all honesty it is recommended that you change your bed every 8 years but if you are finding your bed uncomfortable before this time it may be that you need to try out a different mattress. Over time the support your mattress gives you will decrease.


  • Puff up your pillow! Now we know how often we should change our mattress, what about the pillow? The advice is, that depending on your cleaning habits, your pillow should be changed at least every 3 years but for some as often as 6 monthly! It might sound excessive but if you’re not comfortable then you’re less likely to get a good night’s sleep.


  • Turn off technology! We live in a world of instant access to information and instant connection to others. Watching tv, tablets and your phone before bed stimulates the mind when you should be winding down. It is good practice to turn off all technology a hour before you plan to go to sleep to help your mind wind down.


  • Don’t be tempted by a night cap. If you are struggling to sleep it can be tempting to turn to alcohol to help you sleep. Although alcohol may make you drowsy, helping you to drop off, you will often find you wake unrested or wake in the night because you will not be getting quality sleep.


  • The evidence to support the theory eating cheese causes nightmares is limited however what you eat can affect your sleep. Try to avoid caffeine containing foods and drinks before bed and avoid highly fatty or highly spiced foods which can be difficult to digest.


If you have taken all the good advice and are still struggling with insomnia, consider keeping a sleep diary and book an appointment to talk to your GP. Sleeping tablets are not the magic bullet and should not be relied upon but can be useful for short periods of time.

For more great advice check out the Sleep Council website –


Throughout the whole of January, Alcohol Concern are running a public health campaign known as Dry January. The challenge is to abstain form alcohol for the whole month of January; 31 alcohol free days!  The aim is to raise awareness about the harms of alcohol which is the UK’s biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49.1

Alcohol Concern are fundraising to support 6 national charities

  • Action for Children
  • Breast Cancer Now
  • British Liver Trust
  • Crisis
  • Hospice UK
  • World Cancer Research Fund

Details of how to sign up, fundraise and download the apps is all available on the Alcohol Concern website –

If you have already signed up and are halfway through your month you may be finding that your initial enthusiasm is starting to wane, how can you be sure to make this dry January a success?

Here are our top tips to steering clear of the drink this January.

  1. Avoid your trigger situations – This month instead of meeting your friend in the pub, meet in a coffee shop so there isn’t an option to drink. If evening drinking is your weak point, keep your evenings busy doing things. Go and visit some friends, start an evening gym class or decorate the spare room!
  2. Remind yourself of the health benefits – We all know reducing our alcohol intake has positive health benefits but what actually are they? You will find you sleep improves. Alcohol although it is a sedative doesn’t give you a quality night’s sleep. You skin will improve its appearance, you may find you lose weight as there as many hidden calories in alcohol.
  3. Visualise your savings – Put your saved money in a jar so you can actually see how much you save when you don’t drink. Keeping a glass jar with all the money you have saved in it, each time you avoid having a drink you can really see how this is god for your pocket as well as your health.
  4. Get support from your friends and family – Family and friends can encourage you to keep at it, support you and will not put you in situations where they know you will struggle. By getting them to sponsor your Dry January you will know they are on board. Perhaps they may come along for the ride too!



  1. Alcohol Concern

         [Imagery is property of Alcohol concern]


Click here to see our guest blog titled ‘Driving at Christmas’ by Paul Clarke

The infographic was put together by Paul Clarke and his team at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, an alcohol rehab in the United Kingdom.  All facts in this infographic relate to the UK, but many of the facts are representative to other English-speaking countries that also celebrate Christmas.

Paul asked us to share this infographic on our website to raise awareness about drink driving at Christmas. The aim is to discourage people from considering taking this risk and to thus save lives. Publishing this website here allows Paul to spread this important message to a wider audience.

The infographic reveals that there is a 40% increase in alcohol consumption during December each year. During December 2016, Brits consumed around 600 million units of alcohol. This equates to around 21.4 million bottles of vodka, or 60 million bottles of wine. Since around 60 million people live in the United Kingdom, this equates to around one bottle of wine per person!


The infographic reveals around 110,226 breath tests were conducted nationally in December 2016, of which 5,543, or 5% were positive, failed or refused.

From this number, young people were more likely to fail or refuse a breath test.  5.27% of under-25s stopped by police failed or refused a breath test during the campaign, compared to 3.39% of drivers age 25+.

Click here to read the original post on Rehab 4 Alcoholism’s website



…and over-indulgent

‘Tis the season to be jolly….and overindulgent, which can have an impact on your health. Try our top tips to stay well this winter and still have a fabulous festive time.

Joanne Carey

Many of us enjoy a few beers here and there, some fizz to see in the new year, a glass of mulled wine at the Christmas market or a few G&Ts whilst waiting for Santa. However, these soon mount up to much more than the 14 units recommended a week.

  • If you are thirsty have a glass of water so you don’t drink your alcohol so quickly.
  • Order smaller sized drinks a small glass of wine is 125ml approx 1.5 units whereas a large is 250ml approx 3 units.
  • Use the days between Christmas and New Year to have at least 3 days alcohol free.
  • Drink plenty of water to replenish and clean your system.
  • Visit for more information on alcohol


Beating the winter blues

Long dull nights and cold dull days can make us feel a bit down or under the weather.

Niki Evans-Ward

  • Get out for a brisk lunchtime walk, wrap up warm and make the most of crisp, clear days. Keeping active releases endorphins and can lift your mood. 
  • Check if you need to take a vitamin D supplement, around 20% of adults may have low vitamin D status. The sun is our main source of vitamin D, our bodies can make and store this during the summer months to help see us through the winter. However, if your stores are low you may need a bit of help to top up during the winter months as we cannot get enough from the UK sun.
  • Get more sleep, many of us only average 6-7 hours a night and this may not be enough. Make the most of the dark evenings and mornings with early nights or later mornings, especially if you are off over the festive period.

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