Today's world is busier than ever and we have numerous demands on our time and we often sacrifice sleep in order to fit everything in! But it is important not to let these demands on our attention get in the way of our sleep as it is vital to our wellbeing.
Sleep can be affected by a number of things including caffeine, stress, alcohol and technology. It is recommended not to drink too much caffeine or alchohol prior to bedtime (and ideally not after 3 p.m.) and to have an "electronic free hour" before lights out to enable a better sleep pattern. Taking regular exercise during the day can also help the body.
There are number of benefits to getting a good nights sleep, but here are the top 5:-
1. Healthy Heart
Sleep keeps your your heart healthy! Lack of sleep has been linked to issues with blood pressure and cholesterol which can be also be linked to heart disease and strokes.
2. Stress Reduction
Lack of sleep can make your body go into a state of stress. This makes the body go on high alert which can cause high blood pressure. If you do find you tend to get stressed and find it difficult to get to sleep then you may want to seek out some relaxation techniques to help such as Meditation. There are some great apps out there and often free.
3. Reduces Inflammation
When you have too little sleep this can raise inflammation levels in the body. This can create a greater risk for heart conditions as well as other diseases such as diabetes.
4. Memory Improvement
Sleep plays an important part in a process called "memory consolidation". Your body may be resting but the brain is still busy processing your day, linking events and memories.
Deep sleep is really important to ensure that your brain can make these links and memories.
5. Body Repair
Sleep helps the body repair itself. During sleep the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, pollution and other harmful exposure.
How to optimise your nights sleep:-
- Avoid having a large meal before bedtime
- Aim for a regular and relaxing bedtime routine (read, take a shower)
- Switch off electronic devices an hour before bedtime
- Try to go to bed at the same time each night
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
Adults = 7-9 hours per night
Teenagers = 9 hours
Young Children = 10 hours
Babies = 16 hours
Oh and apparently napping makes you smarter!.. Napping during the day is great for overall health and has been found to make people more productive. People who nap during the day have also been shown to demonstrate lower levels of stress. Another great excuse to take a nap.