This morning when I was so rudely woken by my alarm, I seriously felt like I’d been asleep for like 10 minutes! I hadn’t, I had almost 9 hours sleep, but it set me to thinking about how amazing sleep is! I have always felt empathy for people who have trouble sleeping, however, never truly understood it!!!
Sleep is a human necessity and the benefits of sleep are truly astonishing!! Who doesn’t love a good sleep??
Here is some facts I found for you in the ABC’s National Sleep Research Project (in bold)(These are from 2000 – its a little old now, but these facts are ones which won’t change with time.)
- Seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%. Being a nurse who has done some shiftwork in her time – I believe this to be true!)
- Teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hrs) while those over 65 need the least of all (about six hours). For the average adult aged 25-55, eight hours is considered optimal. If you have had the pleasure of spending time with an adolescent, you will know sleep is very high on their priority list, and here it is, backed by research!)
- Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet. And further to this, backlit screens actually decrease a person’s melatonin secretion – which is the hormone that helps us sleep.
- A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year (wow, I’ve not seen it laid out like that, any new parents out there, you are doing awesome, don’t stop reading, I promise to be the bearer of some tips too!)
And this is what I know about sleep:
Good quality sleep is good for weight loss! – Poor sleep has a slowing effect on metabolism, and we know our metabolism needs to be working well if we want to lose weight.
Lack of sleep has been used as a form of torture – prolonged periods of sleep deprivation mess with the entire body’s biological functions and therefore effect mental and physical health.
A sleep routine can actually help you sleep better. Psst, sleep routines aren’t just for babies!! Its not about timing how long you sleep for and sleeping for intervals and waking up, its about getting in the ‘sleep zone’ before you even go to bed. Again, its about creating habits!
Here are just a couple of things to try:
Try getting up at the same time each day – for people who are particularly fond of their sleep, this might be difficult to start with, but it helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. And when you wake up, get out of bed, so for you serial snoozers, its time to ‘disable’ the snooze function.
Avoiding caffeine after about lunchtime – for obvious reasons, being zinged up on stimulants before bed clearly has detrimental effects on your sleep pattern.
Exercise, especially in the afternoon – physically tiring, but also there is a link to body temperature and it being back to normal by the time bedtime comes around.
I’ve saved the best until last, though perhaps it will be the least popular of all…
Turn off your backlit screens at least one hour before you want to go to sleep. As mentioned above, the melatonin secretion is affected by that light. The ‘one last look’ at your social media for bed has got to be a thing of the past if you want to sleep better!
There you have it, Wellness Assist’s sleep tips in a nutshell, have a great, sleep-filled week!