According to science adults need between 7 and 9 hours sleep per day to function at their optimum level. Supposedly if we don’t get that magical 8 hours both our health and wellbeing are at risk. How? As we sleep important processing, restoration and strengthening occurs. Without this we are more susceptible to both illness and injury.
According to a study by the University of Chicago your looks will start to suffer, you become run-down, get sick and your ability to think clearly diminishes. Ever suffered a case of brain fog?
As you sleep your brain creates and consolidates memories linking both the short and long term therefore a lack of rest could have a significant affect on the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory creation and consolidation.
You also put yourself at greater risk of gaining weight and becoming obese as the sleep deprived have lower levels of Leptin – the chemical that makes you feel full so you eat more than you need.
Littlehales, a sleep coach and the author of ‘A Thorough Guide to Everything Sleep’, believes that Diabetes is one of the dangers that is associated with poor or little sleep. Why? When you are run down your moods and motivation change, your eating habits change, which ultimately results in your ability to process sugars.
If that wasn’t enough to think about, according to the NHS, research shows that not sleeping enough can also lead to anxiety and a lower sex drive.
What does this tell us? Sleep, sleep and sleep some more.
Here are some tips on how to improve your nights sleep according to the Sleep Foundation:
1. Avoid bright light in the evening (no late night TV or devices in the bedroom!)
2. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and big or spicy meals in the evenings.
3. Wind down with meditation to put your body into sleep mode.
4. Stick to a sleep schedule to regulate your body’s clock.
5. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual such as reading.
6. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps in the day.
7. Exercise daily – vigorous exercise is best.
8. Evaluate your room to remove noises e.g. clocks.
9. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Did you know the life expectancy of a good quality mattress 9 – 10 years?
10. If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. Still can’t sleep? Keep a sleep diary to help you better evaluate patterns or issues with your sleeping habits.