Sleep Like A Champion With These Tips
We sleep for one third of our lives. Along with moving our body, eating, drinking and thinking, it is one of the most common things that we do. The things we do the most of affect our health to the greatest extent. Therefore, for our overall well-being, we have to be sleeping well.
However, getting a good night sleep is not so easy. With the over-stimulating rigours of day-to-day activities, poor lifestyle choices, deadlines, and our obsession with technology, it seems to be getting harder and harder to achieve.
Why is sleep so important?
Some amazing things happen when we get a good night’s sleep. It helps to restore and maintain our immune, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. It also helps to maintain mental performance, mood, memory and even sexual health. Sleeping well is also vital for weight loss, reducing fat accumulation around our organs, regulating hormones, and decreasing the amount of cortisol (the body’s stress hormone). It also plays a key role in gut health. Poor sleep over a prolonged period can result in “leaky gut”, which has a whole range of associated health complications.
How much sleep should I be getting?
Sleep requirements vary depending on your stage of life, but the National Sleep Foundation recommends:
· Newborns, infants and toddlers (0-2 years) need 14-17hrs
· Preschool to school age (3-10 years) need 11-12hrs
· Teens (11-18 years) need 9-10hrs
· Adults (18-65 years) need 7-9hrs
· Seniors (over 65 years) need 7-8hrs
BUT…it is not just about quantity. It is about that quality too.
What can I do to get better quality sleep?
- You have to make it a priority. One of the great ironies of modern life is that we crave sleep when we wake up yet loathe it when it’s time has come. If you don’t change your attitude towards sleep, then you won’t get the good sleep you are craving.
- Find your way to wind down. This may be picking up a relaxing book, having an Epsom salt bath or doing a little meditation.
- Get to bed early. Our most restful, deep sleep occurs between 11pm and 4am. You should be asleep well before11pm to make sure you are getting into the deepest level of sleep.
- Make your bedroom an electronic-free zone. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary not an office! This means getting phones, laptops, TVs and alarm clocks with bright lights out of the room. The light from electronics ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking it is day time and instead of producing melatonin (your body’s sleep hormone), it produces cortisol (your body’s stress hormone).
- Avoid electronics at least 2 hours before bed. Blue light from electronics stimulates our brains and it takes around 2 hours for it to wear off.
- Turn your Wi-Fi off at the switch and put your phone onto flight mode. Wi-Fi has now been classified as a Class 2b carcinogen (which means it is possible to cause cancer). We don’t need the internet when we are asleep, so why not turn it off!? Reducing your exposure whilst you are asleep is a great move for your health.
- Skip the alcohol and caffeine before bed and drink water consistently throughout the day, rather than playing ‘catch up’ at night. This will reduce your risk of having a disrupted sleep and making a trip to the toilet.
- Make sure you room is cool and well ventilated.
- Make your room as dark and as noise free as possible.
- If you have nights where you can’t avoid electronics because you have that late night important email to get to, then make sure you download an app that dims your screen and turns it orange and invest in a pair of trendy ‘blue blocker’ glasses. They are amazing for your sleep and are an edgy fashion statement before bed.
Give these tips a go and watch your sleep improve significantly!