How Important Is Sleep?
Yes, we all love our bed, but how many of us actually get a proper night’s sleep? Today, Friday 13th March 2020 is World Sleep Day. Yes, really! So what is World Sleep Day and how should we mark this special day?
World Sleep Day is a day when we should celebrate all things associated with sleep, the benefits of sleep and a raised awareness of sleep and why it is so important to us. I have suffered greatly from insomnia and sometime back I wrote a blog post on it. If you missed it please click here to read it.
So, what are the benefits of sleep?
1 Sleep reduces stress. The act of sleeping actually reduces our blood pressure and our stress hormone levels. High blood pressure can be a very serious medical issue and it is therefore beneficial if we reduce it any way we can.
2 Sleep helps repair your body helping to build up your immune system which in turn helps protect your body against viruses and other infections.
3 Sleep heightens your mood. When we get a good night’s sleep we instantly feel happier and calmer.
4 Sleep can help improve your memory. If you are tired you are less likely to be able to recall details and information.
5 Sleep can help you maintain your weight. A good night;s sleep can regulate the hormones that affect your appetite.
6 Sleep can keep your heart healthy and working more efficiently. Sleeping well reduces the stress levels which in turn can reduce the inflammation that can in time cause heart problems.
7 Sleep can reduce pain. If you have any pain within your body, a good night’s sleep can actually build up your threshold level of pain.
8 Sleep helps you work more efficiently and gives you greater clarity when making important decisions.
Generally sleep improves our overall health, both physical and mental and it should never be underestimated what sleep can do for us. However many of us neglect sleep or we don’t give it too much importance in our life. Why not have a look at your sleep pattern and see how you can improve it?
A good way to help you evaluate your sleep pattern is to keep a sleep diary. A sleep diary is a good way of identifying your sleep habits so you can start to make positive changes.
Other ways to help improve your sleep include –
1 Don’t drink caffeine drinks at least four hours before bedtime.
2 Avoid alcohol at bedtime. Even though it may make you sleepy initially, it can disrupt sleep through the night.
3 Avoid eating a large meal just before bedtime. A light snack is fine.
4 Keep a tidy bedroom as this promotes a feeling of calm within you.
5 Have the bedroom at an average temperature. Don’t have it too hot or too cold.
6 Avoid nicotine just before bed as this is a stimulant.
7 Make sure your bedroom is dark when trying to go to sleep. Blackout curtains may be helpful.
8 Keep the bedroom mainly for sleeping. Avoid watching TV or listening to the radio at bedtime as this will keep you awake. Reading quietly is a great way to promote sleepiness (as is sex of course!)
9 Don’t do any intensive exercise just before bed as this can keep you awake for longer. Try some gentle yoga or stretching exercise instead.
10 Finally, try get a regular time and routine for bed. Have a warm bath, a milky drink and read a good book.
Have you any advice for improving sleep? Do you struggle with sleep?
For more help and information on sleep please visit the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/
Until next time dear friends