Despite the importance of sleep, many people aren’t managing to get a good night’s sleep. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly and can affect your concentration, as well as your ability to think clearly.

On average in the UK adults are only getting around 6 hours and 20 minutes of sleep. But this is below the minimum recommended amount of 7 hours of sleep per night. Additionally, around a third of people in the UK suffer from insomnia and sleep deprivation.

So why is it so important to get a good night’s sleep? We look at what happens while you are sleeping and share some tips on how to get enough sleep.

The Science of Sleep

Our bodies have an internal body clock that helps us to regulate our sleep cycles. This is known as the circadian rhythm. It is responsible for controlling when you feel tired and ready for bed compared to feeling awake and refreshed.

In addition to controlling the sleep-wake cycle, the circadian rhythm contributes to a wide range of health factors. These include hormone production and release, body temperature, mood, heart rate, blood pressure, mental health, appetite, DNA repair and metabolism.

Stages of Sleep

Once we fall asleep the body continues to follow a cycle that can be split into four stages. These are three non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages, and one rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage. It is during the NREM stages that the body relaxes, decreasing body temperature, slowing down the heart rate and relaxing the breathing mechanisms.

The fourth stage of REM sleep is when you are most likely to be dreaming. During this stage, the body starts to wake up but you are in a dream state. All of these stages repeat throughout the night until you wake up. Typically, each cycle is thought to last around 90 – 120 minutes.

How to get a good night’s sleep

An insufficient amount of sleep can have a significant impact on your health. As well as affecting your mental health and cognitive function, it can lead to a higher risk of some diseases. This includes type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

However, if you are finding it difficult to get your 7 hours of sleep, there are some simple things you can try:

  • Consider a digital screen ban in the bedroom – blue light from technology such as phones or laptops can disrupt the body’s ability to prepare for sleep.
  • Ensure a comfortable environment – including room temperature and mattress and pillow types that suit you.
  • Establish a realistic bedtime routine – stick to the same time each night.
  • Cut out caffeine, alcohol or large meals in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  • Exercise during the day – this can help you wind down in the evening.

If you are having trouble sleeping and would like to find out more about some simple lifestyle changes you can make then get in touch with us.

The COVID pandemic has forced the nation to become more flexible and make huge changes to their lives, including many people now working from home. Whilst at first the idea of reducing commuting time was welcomed with open arms, many people are finding that navigating working from home can be both exhausting and challenging.

Follow our tips below to stay productive and to look after your health and wellbeing when working from home.

Sense of Control

One of the fundamental changes the pandemic has forced upon us is the lack of choice when it comes to where we work which many people feel can be frustrating and even disorientating. Whilst safely following Government guidelines is paramount, there are a number of ways that you can infuse autonomy back into your days.

One of the ways to address this could be to ensure that you plan your day – as much as possible consider trying to organise your day in a way that suits you. Planning time to take a break, and more importantly to move around, will not only help to reintroduce a sense of control back into how you manage your time but will help your physical wellbeing.

It also helps to prepare your lunch the day before. This ensures that you use your mealtime to eat, and might buy you enough time to get out for some fresh air. It is also a good idea to turn off social media notifications during work hours.

Embrace Technology

Getting connected through technology can be a barrier and is often the root cause of a lot of friction. Unlike working in the office, it’s not as easy to share ideas face to face and conversations often don’t flow as naturally whilst you are camera facing in virtual meetings.

However, embrace the new ways of working and make the most of the flexibility that this offers. You are no longer tied to the same desk – perhaps consider switching your environment and see if this helps to bring a new lease of motivation.

Human Connection

One of the main differences that people have noticed with switching to working from home is losing the connections with those that you work with and feeling isolated. It is very likely that your network has been considerably reduced and you may be missing the social side of work. After all, human connection is an important essence of life.

But there are many ways in which you can still stay connected. Instead of emailing you could try picking up the phone and calling or arranging a video call. Remember your colleagues are likely to be feeling the same. Organise a lunchtime walk in the fresh air or a virtual coffee break?

Although all of these points are important and could help you to adjust to your new working from home regime, it is incredibly important to remember to set boundaries in order to protect your mental well being.

If you are struggling with working from home and would like more advice on how to cope with this adjustment, then please do get in touch today. Speak with one of our dedicated health professionals who can help you to navigate this new way of life.

As we welcome in the new year, many people take this time to reflect on their health and take the opportunity to make positive changes to their lifestyle. The start of a new year is a great milestone to set new intentions and goals for the year ahead. This might include curbing alcohol, regular exercise and eating a healthy diet as part of a ‘January detox’. But do these plans provide any benefit in the longer term? Here, we look at some of the most common ways to detox.

Try A Drinking Detox

One of the most popular campaigns in the UK is Dry January whereby people choose to abstain from alcohol for the entirety of the first month of the year. Studies have shown that those who cut out alcohol for the whole month did see reductions in cholesterol and blood glucose. Furthermore, they saw a reduction in liver fat which is a major cause of liver disease. However, this evidence is considered to be preliminary, and abstaining for one month is unlikely to reverse the overall effects of 11 months of excess.

In the UK, men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. Additionally, it is better to spread drinking over 3 or more days rather than binging in one go. For reference, 14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of lower strength wine.

Regular Exercise

Cutting down on alcohol will also allow you more time to focus on the things that make you feel good such as making time for regular exercise. Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. By delivering oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue, it can help to improve the efficiency of your cardiovascular system.

By exercising regularly you will release feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin that will help to improve your mood. It can also help to encourage you to get outside in nature which can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Build Healthy Eating Habits

Many people see the transition into the new year as the perfect time to start a new diet. This often involves cutting out whole dietary food groups. A strict detox meal plan might be seen as a good way to lose weight after the excesses of Christmas. However, this approach to diet is not sustainable and should be avoided. Instead, avoid ‘quick fixes’ and consider building healthy eating habits by incorporating a balanced diet. This can help you to maintain good health and help you to feel your best.

By eating a healthy and colourful, ‘rainbow’ diet that includes vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits, you are helping the body to fight off harmful germs and viruses.

Get In Touch

Here at The Mayfair GP we focus heavily on Lifestyle Medicine and believe prevention is key. We help you make positive and effective lifestyle changes to optimise health and wellbeing.

If you would like more information about how to incorporate these tips into your life then get in touch today.

In today’s digital age, not to mention the shift towards home working, the demand for convenience has never been greater. And this does not just apply to online purchases, zoom exercise classes, and meals being brought directly to your door. Now, you can choose a home visiting GP that can fit around your life of juggling work and family commitments.

Here, Dr Vibhu Kaushal of The Mayfair GP in London talks about the many benefits of a home visiting GP service.

Convenience is key

We know that for our patients time is precious. Fitting in a doctor’s appointment into an already incredibly busy schedule is very challenging. That is one of the key reasons our patients choose our home visiting GP service.

The convenience of seeing a doctor at your own home or hotel saves you travel time as you don’t need to get to and from a clinic, organise transport, parking, taxis etc. So if your appointment is 20 minutes – that is literally all the time you will need to fit it in.

Another advantage of seeing people in their own home or hotel room – or even private office, is that everything can be done behind closed doors in a safe and secure environment. This is a huge advantage for anyone who would rather avoid visiting a clinic with other patients, whether that be for health reasons or the need to maintain anonymity. In fact the doctors have a number of celebrities as well as business owners on their patient list.

“We arrive at some houses with a trolley bag, so could easily be mistaken for someone arriving to do ‘hair and make-up’.”


The Mayfair GP is also flexible with appointment times, so you can normally get an appointment at the time that you want, any day of the week. There are also the options of telephone consultations and secure video appointments with your doctor, to avoid any delays in your treatment.

Following a consultation, medications and prescriptions can be delivered directly to your home. Blood testing can also be carried out at your home, with the doctors or via a phlebotomist, and can be taken directly to a lab.

Nursing care can also be organised in your home, for as often or as long as it is needed. This can be for a few hours in the day or even 24/7 care.

“I might see a whole family that needs COVID testing carried out in their home. Today, I saw a 7 year-old, and over the week-end I treated an 87 year-old. We really do treat anyone and everything!”

Arranging quick referrals to specialist consultants

Even though The Mayfair GP can treat most things at your home, sometimes more specialist treatment is needed.

“If we feel that a patient needs much closer monitoring and supervision, we would take care of arranging and coordinating a transfer to private hospital care under a specialist consultant.”

The doctors also work alongside specialist consultants, for example diabetes specialists or gynaecologists. Additionally, any follow up blood or urine tests can be done in your home.

“For a patient who for example has a urine infection. We can see them, assess them, take a urine sample and get it to the lab. We can also arrange for antibiotics to be delivered to them by a pharmacist. Even IV drips can be organised.”

As well as working with your own preferred specialist, they can also advise on the best consultants to work with your condition. Furthermore, they can organise a referral appointment without the delays that you might experience if you choose an NHS route.

Get in Touch

The Mayfair GP offers a personal, flexible and convenient service that puts the patient at the centre. This is a total package of care that doesn’t just end at a diagnosis. With daily monitoring of your condition, advice at every stage, and local specialist consultants on speed-dial if needed, you will feel total peace of mind.

If you are ill and in pain, or if you have any kind of health concern, The Mayfair GP is ready and available to support and help you. Get in touch today to make an appointment by calling us on 07568 369455 or emailing

Seasonal influenza and COVID are often compared to one another as they are both contagious respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, however, they are caused by different viruses.

COVID is caused by an infection with a new coronavirus SARS-CoV2, whilst the flu is caused by an infection with influenza viruses. However, both of these can be extremely serious illnesses, particularly for those who are clinically vulnerable. Here we look at the differences between COVID and the flu, and how you can best protect yourself and your loved ones from either.

Similar Signs and Symptoms

COVID, the flu and other respiratory illnesses can present with very similar symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, which can make it difficult to determine which one you have.

Symptoms that are common to both COVID and flu include fever, continuous coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, a sore throat, a runny nose, body aches, headache, diarrhoea and vomiting. You can also experience a change or loss in taste or sense of smell with flu, although this is far more frequent with COVID.

As many of the symptoms of COVID, flu and other respiratory illnesses are similar, it is vital that testing is carried out in order to confirm the correct diagnosis and determine the best course of action.

Controlling the Virus

There are many similarities between COVID and the flu. However, it is now evident that if a person has COVID typically symptoms could appear 2 to 14 days after infection. In contrast, a person with the flu will develop symptoms within only 1 to 4 days after contracting the virus.

Consequently, if a person has COVID they are more likely to be contagious for a longer period of time than if they had the flu. This indicates how important a period of isolation is in order to control the spread of COVID.

Older adults and individuals who have underlying health conditions, especially those who are pregnant, have heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, are all considered to be at higher risk of developing more serious complications from contracting the COVID virus.

Boost Your Protection

For many years in the UK, we have been offered a seasonal flu vaccine. This is to boost protection against the flu virus which can cause severe illness. The emergence of the COVID virus has sparked much debate about the use of vaccines to protect against the virus. However, vaccine effectiveness studies provide reassuring evidence that the mRNA COVID vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) can help to reduce the risk of contracting COVID and reduce the severity of illness by 90% or more among those who are fully vaccinated.

Get Tested

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID, then get in touch today to book a PCR test (the test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have coronavirus. You need to stay at home until you get your result, even if the symptoms are mild. The Mayfair GP is an approved private sector coronavirus testing provider.

We are offering a wide range of COVID and antibody tests including mandatory travel tests for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers. Click here to find out more.

Many of us can start to feel slower and lethargic as we experience the shorter, darker and colder days of winter. It is thought that around 2 million people in the UK and over 12 million across Northern Europe experience the ‘winter blues’ (seasonal depression). This is characterised by low mood, poor appetite and periods of fatigue through the winter months of January and February.

Living Seasonally

In the modern world, it is easy to forget that, traditionally, society would have been living closely connected to the seasons. In contrast to today, Winter would bring a time of intentional change to the rhythm of life.

Living in tune with the seasons can help you to feel alive and connected to nature. Moreover, by acknowledging these changes can make us feel happier and more productive as we transition into each season.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a type of depression that is related to seasonal changes. Symptoms include a persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure, irritability, feelings of despair, lethargy and periods of sleeping longer than normal.

The exact cause of this seasonal depression is not fully understood. However, there are theories that the lack of sunlight can interfere with melatonin and serotonin production. Additionally, it disrupts a healthy circadian rhythm. This is a natural internal process that regulates the sleep/wake cycle and repeats every 24 hours.

Get Outside

One of the best ways to beat the winter blues is to get active outside and immerse yourself in your surroundings. Research has shown that even just a short 15-minute walk is a great way to beat the winter blues. By exposing yourself to natural daylight, you increase essential neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Notably, these brain chemicals help to energise the brain and regulate our circadian rhythm.

Our cortisol levels rise in the morning hours to get us going and get us motivated for the day ahead. After this, they gradually decline as the day passes in order for us to prepare for rest in the evening.

Meditation is Key

Meditation is a powerful tool that we can use to increase happiness and reduce stress levels. It is an ancient practice made up of a wide range of techniques that all aim to improve our state of mind and promote relaxation.

Studies have shown that meditation can lead to increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the area of the brain which is associated with happiness. Also, it can help to decrease activity in the brain’s areas linked to stress.

Lifestyle Medicine Advice

Here at The Mayfair GP, we pride ourselves on providing holistic care which has a huge focus on lifestyle medicine. To find out more about how you can beat the winter blues, get in touch today to book a consultation with one of our dedicated health practitioners.

Christmas is traditionally considered a time of joy and celebration, and an opportunity to spend time with loved ones. However, for some it can also be a time of reflection and grief, remembering those who have sadly been lost.

National Grief Awareness Week (2-8 December) organised by The Good Grief Trust, aims to normalise speaking about grief and raise awareness. The Mayfair GP, we fully support this campaign, and we want to offer help and support to anyone who is struggling with grief at Christmas, or at any other time.

Create New Traditions

Instead of feeling the pressure to indulge in festive traditions and rituals, give yourself permission to step away if you are finding things too difficult.

Why not consider introducing new traditions in order to remember those that are not there to celebrate with you. This can be done alone or with friends and family.

Holding Space For Loved Ones

Even with the introduction of new traditions, you can still hold a space for the person you have lost. You might find it comforting to incorporate your loved ones into the day by sharing memories, raising a glass or doing something in honour of your loved one.

The most important thing is to listen to yourself and talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling. It is very likely that they are experiencing similar feelings and it’s important to see how you can work together in a way that honours everyone’s wishes.

Immerse Yourself in Nature

Christmas can be a time of isolation for those that live alone. However, wrapping up warmly and getting out of the house for a winter walk can be a great remedy for isolation. Often leaving the house can be the most difficult part of getting out. But it may feel easier if you are accompanied by someone else.

Taking time outside in the fresh air will allow you to take time to simply be present in the moment and could help to relieve some of the anxiety you may be feeling.

Talk to Us

If you are struggling with bereavement, or if you feel anxious about the festive season approaching, then get in touch today. Book a consultation with one of our dedicated healthcare practitioners who will be able to offer help and support during this difficult time.

According to data 24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drink over the recommended allowance and 27% of drinkers in Great Britain binge drink on their heaviest days (over 8 units for men and over 6 units for women). In England, there are an estimated 602,391 dependent drinkers and only 18% of them are receiving help to help cut back.

In November we welcome Alcohol Awareness Week (15-21 November 2021) which is designed to raise awareness relating to drinking alcohol and encourage healthy drinking habits.

Post Lockdown Drinking

Experts warn that the added pressure of living in the recent COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased risk of unhealthy and excessive drinking with new concerns of people emerging from lockdown with new and harmful drinking habits.

The current Government guidance on safe drinking advises that men and women should not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. If you do reach this limit then drinking should also be spread out over 3 or more days. For an idea on unit measurements, 14 units are equivalent to 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of low strength wine.

Harmful Effects of Too Much Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can take a toll on our health. One harmful effect is inflammation of the liver also known as alcoholic hepatitis. If this is not addressed early this can also lead to scarring of the liver called cirrhosis which is a potentially fatal disease. It can also cause cardiac issues such as increased blood pressure and cause damage to the heart muscle.

Research shows that heavy alcohol consumption also has direct links to several cancers including cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, breast, liver, colon and rectum.

Tips To Cut Back on Your Drinking

Here are a few simple tips for cutting down on alcohol consumption:

  • Before you start drinking, set sensible limits on both how much you are going to drink and how much you can spend. Make sure that you stick to it.
  • Speak up to your friends and family to let them know you are cutting down so that they can help to support you.
  • There are plenty of low and alcohol-free options available so why not try swapping your drink for something with a lower alcohol percentage.

If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s alcohol intake and need support, then get in touch with us at The Mayfair GP today.

The first Wednesday in November marks the celebration of National Stress Awareness Day. With the ongoing challenges faced in the world living through a global pandemic, it is easier than ever to find ourselves overwhelmed by stress on a daily basis.

However, this long term stress can have a detrimental effect on both physical and mental health including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of people felt so stressed last year that they felt they were unable to cope.

What is Stress in the Body?

To put it simply, stress is the overwhelming feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. When your body is faced with this challenge it reacts to this potential threat by entering a ‘flight or flight’ mode as it releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Meditation Linked to Reductions in Stress Levels

In order to tackle the issue of stress, effective methods are being discovered which help to reduce everyday stress in the long term.

By measuring cortisol levels in hair samples, a study has revealed the positive effects and reduction of stress following a mindfulness training programme. This training focuses on both cognitive and social skills through meditative gratitude and compassion practice.

Yoga for Everyday Stress

If you would prefer to take a more physical approach to de-stressing then yoga is a great option. Studies have shown that yoga has therapeutic effects that can help you manage stress, anxiety and depression.

Yoga uses a combination of breathing exercises, meditation and physical poses that provide a natural way to act against long-term, everyday stress. In addition to the benefits to mental health and well being, it also acts as a physical workout which in turn helps to release lots of positive feeling endorphins.

Optimal Health for a Lifetime

Here at The Mayfair GP we have a strong focus on avoiding preventable diseases and reversing some chronic diseases by incorporating a lifestyle medicine approach.

If you would like to find out more about how to incorporate changes into your daily life that will help with everyday stress then get in touch today to book a consultation.

November is also known to many as ‘Movember’, which is an opportunity to focus on men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. There has been a lot of concern recently about a possible link between COVID and men’s sexual health. A recent study found that following a positive test for COVID, men may be six times more likely to develop brief or long term erectile dysfunction.

Although COVID is known to cause the most harm to the lungs, it is a systemic disease that can also affect the heart, kidneys, brain and other organs including the reproductive system. And those who have contracted the virus can often suffer long-lasting effects.

Post Virus Erectile Dysfunction

Ongoing research has revealed that a number of men who had previously been fit and healthy actually developed erectile dysfunction after having the COVID virus. In March 2021, research revealed direct links between the virus and erectile dysfunction in men.

One study collected penile tissue from patients who were recovered from symptomatic COVID infections but had subsequently developed severe erectile dysfunction. The evidence demonstrated the presence of the COVID virus in penile tissue long after the initial infection had passed.

COVID and Sexual Performance

Vascular integrity is necessary for erectile function which paired with endothelial damage (cells that line blood vessels) caused by COVID, is directly linked with poor sexual function. The damage the virus causes to endothelial cells which line the blood vessels and it is believed that this is the most likely explanation for the link to poor sexual performance.

Further studies also detail a number of post-infection issues which impact men’s sexual health including the inability to maintain an erection, damage to the testes, testicular pain or swelling, inability to achieve an orgasm, low testosterone levels and mental health issues.

The testicles can act as a hideout of the viral cells which cause COVID. This may help to explain why 11% of men who are hospitalised with COVID have suffered from testicular pain.

Are There Links to the COVID Vaccine?

No. There has been speculation that the COVID vaccine causes issues such as swollen testicles and impotence, however, scientists believe it is important for individuals to understand that there are no links to suggest that the vaccine is linked to erectile function.

If you are concerned about your fertility or the impact of COVID on your sexual health, please contact us today to find out how we can help. Or if you or your partner is experiencing testicular pain, we can carry out a physical examination in the comfort of your own home.