WITH children returning to school next week and people’s work routines back in full swing, September is being dubbed ‘Stress-tember’.

The Sleep Council says it not only marks the return to routine — but pressure levels too — and figures reveal 72% of people surveyed in the North West say they suffer sleep problems when stressed.

Only 26% of people in the region say they are a good sleeper and almost half (41%) say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed.

Lisa Artis, from The Sleep Council, said: “There are clearly peaks and troughs in our stress levels throughout the calendar year and, for many, this manifests itself in an inability to sleep well.”

Neil Shah, director of The Stress Management Society which is supporting The Sleep Council campaign to highlight the problem of stress and sleep, said: “In our experience, September is the beginning of the ‘stress calendar’ — the kids are back at school, the summer holidays are officially over, the weather is starting to change and we have to wait until Christmas for the next public holiday.”

The survey also found that more than 70% claim to have suffered with sleep disorders such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome and nightmares.

More than a quarter find a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed helps to relieve stress, with losing yourself in an interest or hobby, as well as reading and watching TV also coming out top in ways to combat stress.

Top tips from the Sleep Council 

Keep regular bedtime hours
◦ Create a restful sleeping environment, neither too hot, nor too cold and as quiet and dark as possible
◦ Make sure your bed is comfortable
◦ Take more exercise
◦ Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee, especially in the evening
◦ Don’t over-indulge. Too much food or alcohol, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns
◦ Don’t smoke
◦ Try to relax before going to bed. Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga
◦ If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again, then go back to bed