The Benefits of Sleep4 July 2020
We have all felt the effect of a bad night’s sleep, an inability to focus, depleted energy and irritable temperament. But did you know, consistently sleeping less than the recommended 8-hours per night puts your body at risk of developing mental disorders and physical diseases?
Why we need to sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential to keep all of your internal systems functioning efficiently. While you are at rest, your body regenerates cells and produces cytokines, a vital protein for the fight against infections and inflammation. As your nightly sleep time begins to decline so does the production of cytokines. The cost to your health is more than just fatigue; a lack of sleep starts to affect your decision-making capabilities, and your concentration, which can lead to debilitating mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown that our global sleep-loss epidemic is rooted in our technological addiction. During the Coronavirus pandemic, the closure of cultural and leisure facilities heightened the popularity of social networking apps like Houseparty and Tiktok. While taking your device to bed with a glass of wine can seem like fun, both the screen time and alcohol slow down the sleep process. Making conscious adjustments to your lifestyle and overhauling your bedtime routine will have a significant impact on your overall health goals.
The benefits of sleep
Sleep enriches not just your skin but your overall quality of life. Regularly getting 8-hours of slumber boosts your libido, fertility and wards off heart disease. If you find yourself in sleep debt and suffering from mental fog, taking two, well-timed, 30-minute power naps during the morning and afternoon will help to recalibrate your system.
10 top tips to improve your sleep
- Set a household bedtime routine in the evening and switch to lamps or dim the main lights in the house. Go to bed at the same time each night to train your body.
- Add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to a relaxing bath, or your shower gel, for a soak before you go to bed.
- Keep your room as dark as possible to encourage the production of the hormone Melatonin. Even a sliver of ambient light can disrupt your circadian rhythm.
- Your bedroom should not be your office. If you can, work in a different room to designate this space for rest and relaxation.
- Try to cut down on the level of caffeine and sugar you are consuming during the day. If you fancy a hot drink, try a cup of camomille tea or lemon verbena.
- Quit smoking! Habitual smokers are prone to consistent sleep disruption and insomnia.
- While you may enjoy binge-watching Netflix, ditching the screen an hour before you sleep will completely overhaul your bedtime routine.
- If you are kept up at night thinking about the list of tasks you have to complete, replace each negative thought with a positive statement spoken out loud. This will break your train of thought.
- If you suffer from insomnia Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or CBT with a registered practitioner can help on a long term basis. Download a sleep diary from the NHS to track your progress.
- Practice Yoga 2-hours before you go to bed to calm your mind and release tension from your muscles. Regular exercise is essential to relieve stress and anxiety from the body and the mind.