This year marks the 14th annual World Sleep Day. It’s on March 19, 2021 and has the slogan, “Regular Sleep, Healthy Future.”
The importance of good quality sleep cannot be underestimated. Especially when you think we spend up to a third of our lives asleep. You might think that time spent sleeping is not productive or useful, but that is far from the case. We restore ourselves while sleeping and remove metabolic waste that build up while activity. Also, studies suggest that a lack of proper sleep impairs the body’s ability to repair and heal wounds.
It is widely accepted that sleep plays an important role in memory, learning and other physiologic processes. It is thought it enables the formation of long-term memories and increases the ability to learn new information and recall it. It is also involved in the control of inflammation, hormone regulation, cardiovascular regulation and many other critical functions. Put simply, sleep underpins our health, as well as our physical and mental wellbeing. Good quality sleep is crucial to ensure good health and quality of life.
Problems with sleep are very common. The Philips Index for Health and Well-being found that 35% of people do not feel they get enough sleep and that it impacts either our physical or mental health. Let’s not forget that sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture and a lack of sleep can cause many psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and, in extreme cases, psychosis. Longer term effects are being studied, but poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation are associated with significant health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, a weakened immune system and even some forms of cancers.
To help you here are some useful tips for better sleep.
- Try to go to bed and awake up in the morning at about the same time. A good sleep routine helps to signal to your body when to sleep and wake up.
- Try not to sleep in the day and if you do make it for less than an hour.
- Avoid alcohol consumption for four hours and caffeine for six hours before bedtime. Remember, caffeine does not just mean coffee. There is a lot of caffeine in tea, cola drinks and some other soft drinks, such as Red Bull.
- Smoking is bad for you anyway, but not smoking will help with sleep problems.
- Avoid a large meal or spicy food for four hours before bedtime. If you must eat, a small meal or snack before bed is fine.
- Avoid sugary foods for four hours before bedtime. Unfortunately, chocolate is doubly bad as it contains caffeine and sugar.
- Try to exercise regularly, but not immediately before bedtime.
- Make sure your bed and bedding is comfortable.
- Think about what is a comfortable temperature for the bedroom and try to keep it well ventilated.
- Block out or eliminate as much noise and light as possible.
- Where possible the bed and bedroom should be for sleep only. Try not to use it as an office, workshop or recreation room.
- Avoid using electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets immediately before bedtime. The blue light of these device is thought to fool the body into thinking its dawn.
Using sleep aids, such as Nytol, can be a useful way to overcome short term periods of poor or disrupted sleep. These aids are only for short term use though and if you are suffering from long term problems you should seek help. Hypnotherapy can help you explore the reason for your sleeplessness and support you to address them.
To find out more about how I can help you with sleeplessness then click here.