Okay so you already know that getting a good night’s sleep is important for your health, however, despite this knowledge many of us have forgotten what feeling rested actually feels like with too few of us making sleep a priority.
Whilst delivering a workshop last week on all things health and wellbeing and the pressures of work/life balance it became clear that our guests understood the importance of maintain/improving their physical activity and nutrition but many admitted to often letting sleep fall off the list as they attempted to burn the candle at both ends.
“sleep alongside exercise and nutrition is one of the three pillars to a healthy body and mind.”
We went on to discuss that sleep alongside exercise and nutrition is one of the three pillars to a healthy body and mind. Each as equally important as the others, if just one doesn’t receive the attention it needs then we will never reach our true potential.
With that in mind research suggests that as many as 1 in 3 of us suffers from poor sleep and our experience at the Business Health Group would perhaps suggest more than that, with work, stress, worry and anxiety all often to blame.
To make matters worse we consume stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks, use alarm clocks and electrical lights and other electronic devices such as phones, tablets and TV’s all which interfere with our natural sleep/wake cycle or to give it its official name, circadian rhythm.
Whilst we are all unique it is recommended that as adults we each have between 7 and 9 hours sleep every night and not getting this can cause what is known as a sleep debt.
Now of course we can all get away with a few late or restless nights or early mornings once in a while but for many of us this slowly becomes the norm, and we start to feel tired more of the time as fatigue sets in and our concentration and focus on works begins to deteriorate. Perhaps you can begin to recognise a change in mood or temperament or maybe you become a bit more clumsy or forgetful, all of these are signs of not getting enough sleep.
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine after lunch time (at least 8hrs before bed)
Avoid nicotine (including patches or gums) at least an hour before bedtime.
Avoid alcohol around bedtime- whilst it might help you to drop of initially it is often responsible for disrupting your sleep later in the night.
Avoid eating a large meal immediately before bed although a light bite may be beneficial for some.
Try to do regular (even mild) exercise but be careful to avoid doing this within 2 hours of bedtime.
Keep the bedroom calm and tidy, choose calming colours and a comfortable mattress, sheets and pillow.
Avoid making your room too hot or too cold typically we sleep best at around 20C.
Keep the room dark and quiet during the night but make sure you spend some time in day light during the day.
Keep your bedroom for sleeping, try to avoid watching TV, listening to the radio or eating in your room.
Try to keep to regular sleep and wake times, even across the weekends if possible.
Yes, I know, many of them if not all of them are obvious...but how many of them are you actually doing or could you be doing better??
So what are you waiting for…the key to your health starts with a good nights sleep.