With Euro 2020 now over. England losing out in the final in the most heartbreaking fashion. Penalties.
Viewers up and down the UK will no doubt of been glued to the television but now the tournament has finished , what kind of effects could the constant football matches and analysis be having on our lives and health?
The team at Otty has teamed up with Alex Dimitriu, sleep expert and MD of Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, to reveal how the Euros could contribute to sleep deprivation, along with some top tips to help overcome any issues experienced.
During an England match in the Euros, Brits are expected to drink around 10 million pints a day. And while this may be welcomed news for the struggling hospitality pubs, it can have detrimental effects on sleeping habits.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning that it can cause the brain to slow down. While this can cause the body to feel more relaxed and induce sleepiness, too much alcohol consumption can be harmful to the body.
Alex Dimitriu, sleep expert and MD of Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, says: “Alcohol is an interesting chemical. At low doses, it may be slightly activating. At medium and higher doses, it becomes an anxiety reducer and can also make people sleepy. Beyond its detrimental effects on the brain and body, the trouble with alcohol when used to treat the symptoms of anxiety or sleeplessness is that it is habit-forming, and just doesn’t last that long. That is why people who have gone to sleep after drinking too much will wake up several times during the night and feel hungover and unrested the following day.
“Sleep on alcohol is both fragmented with numerous awakenings (when the alcohol wears off), and overall lacking in deep sleep and REM sleep, both essential to the brain feeling recharged the next day.”
Pro tip: Drinking at least two pints of water before bed can help flush your body of chemicals and wear off the alcohol, which will help you sleep better.
It’s no surprise that many football fanatics will be glued to their screens day and night during the Euros. Consisting of 51 matches, if someone were to watch every game in full, this would equal at least 4,500 minutes, 75 hours, or three days of total screen time.
While keeping up with how other teams are performing is vital to many during the European Championships, too much time staring at the TV can have damaging effects on your sleeping habits.
Alex said: “TV, smartphones, and blue screens of any sort, in general, produce a bluish light that confuses the body’s circadian system into thinking this is the blue of the sky on a sunny day. The body interprets blue light by lowering melatonin production, which is intended to help us fall asleep at night. So, blue light from any screen equals less melatonin, contributing to insomnia and worse quality sleep all night long.
“Another issue with any interactive device – such as an iPad – is that the interaction process is quite mentally stimulating and gets the brain going when it should be winding down. This can cause insomnia as well as diminished sleep quality for the entire night.”
Pro tip: Take regular breaks in between football matches to give yourself a break from the screen. Eye strain can cause headaches and even migraines which make it difficult to enjoy the games and switch off during the evenings.
Many footie-loving Brits will experience match anxiety, especially the night before an important England game.
However, like many forms of anxiety, this can cause issues with drifting off and staying asleep.
Alex said: “Match anxiety is like most other forms of anticipatory anxiety – like before a big test, interview, or presentation at work. Insomnia can certainly be a part of this, but the next day is often much more enjoyable if you can get some sleep.
“Exercising the day prior to a game can help, as well as shutting off all forms of work and media about 3-4 hours before bedtime to cool off. Also, reading books when you cannot sleep, rather than reading from your mobile phone, has been hugely helpful to many people.”
Pro tip: Try drinking some chamomile tea or spraying lavender in your room before heading to bed. This will help soothe anxious thoughts and help you drift off.
34% of couples have admitted to arguing over a game, so it’s certainly conceivable that the pressures associated with the Euros could add extra tension to a relationship.
Choosing to spend the evening in front of the TV (or at the pub) to watch the Euros over spending quality time with a partner can cause strain on a relationship, with arguments quickly escalating. This added stress can make it difficult for people to sleep, especially when going to bed on unresolved issues.
Alex said: “Try to keep arguments out of the bedroom and especially out of the bed. For good sleep, it is essential to associate the bed and bedroom with positive feelings, comfort and security. This is why we tell people to get out of bed when they cannot sleep and do something relaxing like reading in another room. No stressing out and clock-watching in bed – because it sets you up to associate the bed with stress.
“The same can be said about late-night arguments – besides being stimulating, they can lead to insomnia and diminished sleep quality. Also, people tend to be more tired, with less impulse control at night, so it’s a dangerous time to argue – you might say things you would not have otherwise. The best advice for most couples is to defer the discussion for a better time, and sleep on it.”
Pro tip: Always resolve any relationship issues before you head to bed. Falling asleep when stressed can make it difficult to fall into a deep sleep, or REM sleep, which is essential for feeling refreshed the next day.
Credit for this piece of writing goes to www.otty.com