How’s Your Sleep Health?

June 26, 2024

Often we pay attention to how much sleep we’re getting and gauge a good night’s sleep on whether we got full night’s rest or didn’t sleep quite enough. But have you ever paid any attention to how you sleep? Are your pre-sleep practices preparing you for a night of slumber? Do you wake up feeling well rested? 

Why is Quality Sleep Important?

The need to sleep is one of our strongest biological urges, and sleep deprivation can affect your mortality faster than food deprivation. The general scientific consensus is that about 8 hours of sleep is good for you. While there is a plethora of information about this, there seems to be a ‘two-speed economy’ situation happening. Numerous world leaders and chief executives live in a no-sleep culture – waxing lyrical about how the most useful hours of the day are between 4 and 6am making the rest of us mere mortals feel as though “sleep is for the weak”. So we make up for it by fuelling ourselves on stimulants like caffeine and sugar, and we stay up late at night with our brains wired to our TVs and phones.

Sleep is important for brain function. During sleep , your brain is performing necessary functions that help you preparing for the day ahead. Quality sleep improves your ability to learn and can enhance problem-solving skills.

Sleep is also essential for focus, decision-making and creativity. Sleep deficiency can impact your emotional state, behaviour patterns and coping with stress.

With the challenges and pace of modern life, maintaining a perfect sleep schedule at all times can be unrealistic. However, there are some quality sleep tips to keep top of mind.

Daily Exercise

When you exercise, your body needs to recover and restore itself, and its method of restoration is sleep. Those who exercise regularly have found that it improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnoea… and , exercise is pretty good for you so you should make a habit of doing something active every day. Give yourself a buffer between working out and going to bed because the elevated heart rate and body temperature might make it hard to hit the hay.

Create a Bedtime Ritual

Condition your body to know it’s time to wind down for sleep by developing a bedtime ritual – maybe a warm shower, listening to some music or reading a book. It’s best to resist the temptation to check your phone or watch TV, as certain wavelengths of light affect your body’s production of melatonin, which regulates sleep patterns.

Eat Clean to Sleep Clean

Many of the things we consume affect how we sleep at night. Caffeine, large meals, and sugar close to bed time are obvious offenders, but so too are cigarettes and alcohol. Your nightly ritual may include a ciggy and a night cap to relax, but nicotine stimulates your brain and your body needs to work to process the alcohol… so maybe think twice.

Nap, But Not Too Much

Naps are a great way to relax and feel rejuvenated, but nap too long and you run the risk of ruining your night time sleep pattern, or catching ‘sleep inertia’, which will leave you feeling sleepier and worse off than before you had the nap. 10-20 minute naps should do the trick.

Sleep Clean

We pay a lot of attention to what we eat and the effect it has on our health and wellbeing, and restful sleep gets swept under the rug. If you take one thing a way from this blog, it’s pay more attention to your sleep. Try different techniques and read more about sleep to find something that makes you feel better and fresher in the mornings. Find out more about mastering sleep hygiene.

The most important thing is to prioritise your sleep. Make sure you are mindful about your sleeping patterns and try not to just fall in a heap at the end of the day. Paying attention to how you feel when you wake up and during your day will give you a good indication of whether you’re getting it right at night.

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