Are you getting enough sleep?

Sickle moon on dark blue sky above town

With World Sleep Day approaching on 18th March, it’s a great time to be asking yourself that question and put some new sleep practices into motion come bedtime!

This blog will help you to understand the impact of poor sleep on your overall wellbeing and provide you with 10 great tips to improve your sleep!

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), sleep loss has been declared an epidemic across developed nations. This is resulting in widespread negative outcomes on the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of billions of people across the globe. 39% of adults in the UK report sleeping less than 7 hours.

Cartoon woman's head and leaf

There is not one major organ in the body that is NOT enhanced by sleep, or detrimentally impaired if we don’t get enough. Biological studies prove it affects all living cells.

Sleep deprivation inhibits the ability of the mind to memorise, allow focus and alertness and make logical rational decisions. It destroys the immune system and the body’s ability to fight off disease and infection. It increases the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and type 2 diabetes by raising blood sugar and can also lead to increased weight gain. It contributes to psychiatric conditions and interrupts the emotional circuits, reducing the mind’s ability to resolve emotional conflict and trauma.

I think the above leaves us in no doubt about the importance of sleep, so what can we do about it?

Here are 10 tips to help aid your sleep:

  1. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day – set an alarm to start with, but then watch as your body adapts to the new timings.
  2. Digital Sunset – no screen time 60 minutes before bed (phone/ TV).
  3. Limit caffeine & nicotine – caffeine can stay in your system for 12 hrs! Even de-caffeinated drinks contain caffeine.
  4. Relax – find something relaxing to do before bed, reading, listening to music. Do not engage in emotionally stimulating conversations, or anything that arouses too much emotion.
  5. Exercise – do not exercise within 2 hours of bedtime. Exercise releases adrenaline into our body, which stimulates us.
  6. Avoid alcohol before bedtime – it may help you relax but robs you of critical REM sleep.
  7. No naps after 3pm – this can lead to losing sleep pressure (Adenosine) later, which can make trying to get to sleep harder.
  8. Have a bath before bed – helps reduce body temperature.
  9. De-clutter the room, keep it tidy – do not do work in there, the bedroom is for 2 things – sleep and intimacy!
  10. Get regular sunlight – aim for min 30 mins per day, more if trouble sleeping.

Sleep tight!

Yohan McDonald, Founder Great Minds – Workplace Wellbeing

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