Don’t you love waking up after a great night sleep feeling refreshed and with a sense of excitement for the day ahead?
Sadly this is not reality for all of us and approximately 4 in 10 Australians are not getting the sleep they need. (source: ‘sleep health awareness report’)
Insufficient sleep can be caused by sleep disorders or due to behaviours that restrict sleep. Latest research reveals the impact that the lack of sleep has on our physical and mental health. Regular insufficient sleep has been associated with an increased risk of developing conditions including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. It also contributes to the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
But what does actually happen when we sleep?
While we sleep our body works to repair muscles, organs and other cells. Chemicals that strengthen our immune system start to circulate in our body and even our brains sweep themselves clean of toxins during sleep.
It is recommended to sleep between 7 to 9 hours for adults but its not just the time but the quality that contributes to optimum cognitive and physical health. To get the most out of your time in bed, try these rituals:
- eat your biggest meal during day time and avoid eating at least 2 hours before bed
- avoid the afternoon caffeine hit, instead spent some time in nature, i.e. walk, run, yoga
- reduce evening screen time, especially if you’ve already spent all day in front of the computer, phone, TV
be mindful when and what you feed your mind and body
- move your body every day and incorporate a yoga routine in your life
- have a notepad and pen next to your bed to capture all the thoughts that run through your mind and keep you up
- have some quiet before you go to bed for mediation or simply lie on the floor / yoga mat with your hands on your belly and practice deep belly breathing
Sleep is a fundamental human need – along with nutrition, physical exercise and mental health. As with everything, preparation is the key, so plan ahead and try different methods that get you into bed and set you up for the best sleep ever.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on – and our little life is rounded with a sleep. ~William Shakespeare