Sleep is important for our mental and physical health, but it is often prioritised below exercise and nutrition.
We seem to have forgotten that sleep is vital.
Sleep is important because:
much of our cell growth and repair occurs while we sleep.
our quality of sleep has an impact on the following day, as it impacts our alertness, productiveness, concentration and reaction time. This could have serious implications.
when we are well rested we are more creative and are better at problem solving.
Sleep deprivation is harmful because:
Our hormones get sorted out while we sleep, so when we don't get enough they can be kinda out of whack and have effects on the body- E.G. we feel more hungry than usual.
Sleep deprivation impacts our immune function, putting us at greater risk of common illnesses such as colds and flus.
Our mental health can be negatively affected by sleep deprivation as it impacts our coping skills. This can leave us at higher risk of depression and risk taking behaviours.
When we are sleep deprived we tend to lack motivation, feel more stressed and experience mood swings.
How can we get enough good quality sleep?
Make sure that you allow enough time for a good night's sleep- ideally more than 6 hours, with 6-8 being optimal for most people.
Set a regular bed time and wake up time, so that you get a similar amount of sleep every night and get into a routine.
Make a wind-down routine, such as turning off your phone/laptop an hour before bed, getting into PJs, reading etc.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine for a few hours before bed.
Keep your room cool, quiet and dark.
Keep you room tidy and free from clutter as much as possible.
Relax in the evening before bedtime- relax in whatever way works for you, take a bath, meditate or light a candle.
Change your bedding regularly and choose a duvet and pillow that are comfortable for you.
Regular movement is associated with better quality sleep, so be sure to add movement to your days (but not too close to bedtime!).
Get outside during the day- sunlight keeps your circadian rhythm in check. This is what tells us to wake up when it is bright and to sleep when it gets dark!
The book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is on my reading list- its been recommended lots for great information about sleep, so worth a look if you are interested in learning more.
What is your bed time routine??
I'm currently into getting into PJs, putting on a face mask and reading my book. And I'm definitely finding that getting outdoors and moving regularly is helping my sleep quality!
If you don't have a bedtime routine, why not make it a goal for 2019??
Lots of love,
Little O x