There are many benefits of getting good quality sleep including:
- Improved memory and concentration
- Improved mood
- Reduced blood pressure
- Increased energy
- Reduced risk of pains and injuries
- Improves blood sugar levels
- Improves your immune system
- Reduces weight gain
How much should we sleep?
We should aim for 8 hours sleep a night. Ideally we should be getting more than 7 hours sleep, as studies have shown an increased risk in those who don’t achieve their 7 hours with developing mental health and memory conditions. There have also been studies into napping which show if you get less than 9 hours sleep a night, increasing this time with a nap is still effective with giving the above benefits, although not quite as good as getting all your sleep at once.
How can we help improve our sleep?
There are loads of things you can try to help you improve your sleep:
- Get more exposure to light during the day, especially in the mornings – try to get outside, whether it’s to sit in the garden or go for a walk – any exposure is good!
- Reduce blue light exposure in the evenings – try to turn your phone off an hour before bed, and try reading a book rather than watching the TV
- Reduce bright light exposure in the evenings – try and have lights dimmed or just have a reading lamp on for the last hour before you plan to go to sleep
- Do not consume caffeine after midday – caffeine stays in your system for a long time – even 12 hours after a cup of coffee you will have a quarter of the caffeine still in your system
- Try to go to sleep and get up at a similar time each day so your body is in a regular pattern
- Try not to eat sugary foods after dinner as these will make it hard for you to wind down and relax as your body processes it
- Have a warm bath or shower before bed – the dip in body temperature that happens following this can help you get off to sleep
- Make sure your room temperature is cool, as being too warm at night will cause you to wake
- Try and avoid naps later in the day as this can confuse your body clock
- Try and make sure you are active through the day: going for a walk, trying some gentle stretches, or a gentle exercise class like yoga or pilates
Why not give some of these a go and let us know if you see any improvement in your sleep quality or your energy levels during the day?