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Sleep for Good Health

Post date: 
01 July 2020
Category: 
Health & Wellbeing

Sleep plays a vital role in your overall mental wellbeing and physical health. Therefore, it is essential to get adequate, quality sleep. 

Some reasons why good quality sleep is essential:

  • Sleep improves your whole body functioning by allowing your body time to heal damaged cells, boost your immune system and recharge your heart and cardiovascular system for the next day.
  • Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity: this includes cognition, concentration, productivity and performance
  • Research suggests that those suffering from poor sleep consume more calories in an effort to energise themselves during the day
  • Sleep affects glucose metabolism and, therefore, inadequate sleep can potentially increase the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Poor sleep is often linked to depression
  • Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation
  • Your quality of sleep affects emotions and social interactions

Are you currently having adequate sleep?

Complete the following sleep audit to assess whether your sleep is good quality:

  • Do you fall asleep within 5-20 minutes of lying down in bed?
  • Do you follow the same routine every evening to prepare for sleep?
  • Do you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning?
  • Do you wake during the night but find it easy to fall back to sleep?
  • Do you wake feeling refreshed and energised in the morning?

If you answered no to most of these questions, then you may not be getting enough good quality sleep.  There may be some simple behavioural changes you can make to improve your sleep, however, if these changes are not having an impact then perhaps it is time to seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Simple strategies to improve your sleep quality:

  • Set up a bedtime routine – whatever works for you to help you relax and get into sleep mode.  You may want to read, meditate, write in your journal, practise breathing exercises, listen to relaxing music or do some gentle yoga or stretches.  
  • Turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before going to bed.  Perhaps, try making your bedroom a technology-free zone, and that might mean investing in a traditional alarm clock.
  • Go to bed at the same every night and wake at the same every morning (including weekends!) – this will help regulate your body clock to ensure the effective, natural production of melatonin (the hormone produced in our body to prepare us for sleep).
  • Prepare for tomorrow – pack your bag, choose your clothes, set out your breakfast utensils.
  • Eat wisely – steer clear of heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol late in the evening.
  • Do a body scan while lying in bed.  Take a deep breath and relax your body and then begin to scan your body from head to toes.  Scna each part of the body and notice any feelings, twitches or twinges and focus on breathing into this are. 
  • Make sure your bedtime ritual is simple, consistent and relaxing.

*If you suspect you have a sleep disorder or are not getting adequate sleep please consult your medical practitioner. 

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