The importance of sleep.
Sleep is a crucial part of our lives and yet it’s often the first thing to go when we’re overworked or stressed.
Sleep deprivation has been shown to have negative effects on both physical and mental health. Sleep is crucial for our immune system, which keeps us healthy by fighting off infection. Without adequate sleep we cannot function at peak performance levels in life or work.
Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Are you getting the recommended amount of sleep? If not, try making some small changes to your routine to help you get the shut-eye you need.
This blog post will provide you with 5 steps that will help increase your immune function and improve your sleep.
Sleep in a Dark Room
One of the most important things you can do for your sleep is to make sure your room is dark. Darkness triggers the release of melatonin, which helps promote sleep. Make sure all electronics are turned off and any light from outside is blocked by curtains or blinds.
Try to avoid looking at screens just before going to sleep. This one is tough for most of us, as screens are a big part of our lives. However, the blue light from screens interferes with our sleep cycles and can make it harder to fall asleep. Try to avoid looking at screens for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
The more consistent you are with your bedtime and wake time, the easier it will be to fall asleep. Sleep experts recommend going to bed and waking up at the same time every day even on weekends.
It’s tempting in summer when daylight lasts longer than usual to sleep later. However, doing so throws off your circadian rhythm. Your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to keep your schedule as consistent as possible throughout the year.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for hours, so it’s best to avoid all caffeine. Regularly drinking alcohol can disrupt sleep. For example, a heavy drinking session of more than six units in an evening, can make us spend more time in deep sleep and less time than usual in the important Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, which is an important restorative stage of sleep our bodies need. This can leave us feeling tired the next day - no matter how long we stay in bed.
Sleep and exercise are very closely linked, with both being shown to help the body get a better night’s sleep.
Exercise can release “feel good hormones such as serotonin (serotonin is released when you feel elated after doing something that makes you happy) into your bloodstream which helps calm your mind down so it will be able to switch off more easily at night.”
So, if you are looking to get a better night’s sleep, start by exercising on a regular basis! Not only will it help improve your sleep but it will also have other health benefits as well. For example, “regular exercise has been shown to increase lifespan and protect against conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.”