+ PLUS Six Strategiesfor a Good Night’s Sleep
Did you know that Insomnia affects at least 80% of depressed people? (1) They have difficulty falling asleep, or more commonly, staying asleep. We can see just from this statistics that lack of sleep can have an impact on our emotional wellbeing, but it can also have an impact on our physical state, and our ability to be productive and complete day to day tasks.
We can see just from this statistics that lack of sleep can have an impact on our emotional wellbeing, but it can also have an impact on our physical state, and our ability to be productive and complete day to day tasks.
As our lives get busier and we try to cram more and more into our days, we tend to push sleep to the bottom of the priority list.
In fact, as we do become busier, sleep should be at the top of the priority list alongside a healthy diet and exercise. Why is this?
Let us explain the importance of receiving enough good quality sleep.
- When we are sleep deprived we are less likely to be able to think clearly and focus on important day to day tasks. We suffer from brain-fog, which leaves us less productive for the day ahead, and also leads to poor memory function (2). Therefore, when our lives are busy, it is especially important to ensure we are receiving plenty of sleep so we are able to function at a higher capacity!
- Sleep deprivation can have an impact on our moods and can cause us to become irritable and impatient with things that would normally be quite manageable (2). Ensuring we receive a sufficient amount of good quality sleep means we are able to cope better in emotional and social situations (2). Further, when we are irritable, we are more inclined to make poor decisions. It is, therefore, a great idea to have a good night’s sleep so we are able to make the right choices at decision time!
- Being sleep deprived can also have an impact on our metabolism and weight. This is due to the way the body processes and stores carbohydrates when we are tired. It can also impact the hormones that our bodies produce that affect our appetites (2). As well as eating a good healthy diet and exercising regularly, getting enough sleep helps to maintain our weight, and being a healthy weight definitely has its advantages when we are living busy lifestyles!
- Severe sleep disorders can cause cardiovascular health issues, and have been linked to hypertension, irregular heart beat, and increased stress hormone levels (2). If we were to develop any of these conditions, our ability to meet the demands of life would be affected. Therefore, it’s important to sleep well to reduce the risk of developing any cardiovascular disease which could have devastating effects on our lifestyles and financial situations.
- People who are lacking in sleep generally have a lower or weakened immune system. This has been proven by way of white blood count (3). Again, illness can leave us unable to meet the demands of life, such as kids, socialising, work commitments, etc. Being proactive in preventing illness by forming a good sleeping pattern, can ensure we can keep up with life!
So now that we’ve looked at the consequences of not getting sufficient shut eye, let us give you some strategies (some easy, some not so easy!) for getting a good night’s sleep!
- Move electrical devices, especially alarm clocks, at least 1 metre away from your bed. It’s best not to be able to see the alarm clock at all, because being able to see the time as you lay awake at night only makes you more anxious about the lack of sleep. If you need to see your alarm clock, choose one that does not have a blue display, as blue light affects the body’s ability to create melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep (4).
- Sleep in a cool room. Your internal body temperature drops to its lowest while you are asleep, so having your environment mimicking your body will ensure a good night’s sleep.
- Your bedroom should be for sleeping only. Avoid sitting in bed to work or watch TV, and try to finish these activities an hour to two hours prior to bedtime. Activities such as these are too stimulating for you right before sleep time.
- Establish a bedtime routine and go to bed as early as possible. Prior to electricity, it was the norm to go to sleep shortly after sunset. It is also believed that the best quality sleep is often obtained between 11pm and 1am.
- Avoid caffeine, which is a stimulant and is not metabolised efficiently. Also be aware that some medications contain caffeine.
- Exercising regularly (30 minutes per day) helps improve sleep quality. Just remember not to exercise within 2 hours of bed time as it may keep you awake.
Now you have some strategies for ensuring you get sufficient sleep to keep up the demands of life. Make sleep a priority in your life and watch your productivity, focus, and health improve dramatically. Sleep well, rise feeling liberated, and accomplish many great feats during your day!!
Have a Wonderful Week and Be Well,
From the Team at Hervey Bay Wellbeing, Anti- Aging & Longevity Centre
- “Bedfellows:Insomnia and Depression”. http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200307/bedfellows-insomnia-and-depression. Retrieved 2010-07-02 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_depressive_disorder
- Harvard Health Publications, 2006. Importance of Sleep: Six reasons not to scrimp on sleep [Online] Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/importance_of_sleep_and_health [Accessed 16 November 2011].
- MedicineHealth, 2011. Sleep: Understanding the Basics [Online] Available at: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/sleep_understanding_the_basics/page2_em.htm#Importance%20of%20Sleep [Accessed 16 November 2011].
- Sisson, Mark, 2010. How Light Affects Our Sleep [Online] Available at: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-light-affects-our-sleep/ [Accessed 17 November 2011].