Sleep is essential to mind and body, and the quality of sleep can directly correspond to the quality of a person’s daily output, overall wellbeing and happiness.
Our bodies heal while we sleep, linking to the repair of our hearts and the restoration of blood vessels. Continuous lack of sleep can lead to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and a stroke. Unsurprising, obesity is also linked to irregular sleep patterns.
Sleep deprivation can also take its toll on our mental wellbeing, and yes, our happiness. Ever had a poor night’s sleep and felt grouchy the next day? Feeling tired is just one factor that makes us feel deflated, irritable and less patient with ourselves and others. A better night’s sleep has many benefits for daily life, including a sharper attention span, better memory, a healthier weight, lower stress levels and as a result, a lower chance of experiencing depression.
It’s recommended that an adult sleep between 7-8 hours per night on average, however this can vary based on the individual. Your body will talk to you, it’s essential that you listen. Getting a good night’s sleep should become a habit, and the best place to start when creating a habit is by introducing a routine. Don’t allow yourself to sleep in, even on the weekends. Now this may seem tough, and a little strict for some, but by creating a routine in which you go to bed around the same time each night and wake at the same time each morning, you are creating a routine for your body. By allowing your body to identify this daily pattern you are training it to rest at the appointed hours, and to recognise when it can recover and restore.
Part of your routine should also include the hour or so before bed spent without technology and gadgets. That’s no mobiles or TV before bed! Using a mobile or watching TV before bed prevents our bodies and minds from taking an essential break before entering a state of rest. Watching TV for example, sends the wrong signals to our brains and our bodies, and instead of unwinding, our minds tend to be overactive.
The association we make with our bed also has a key part to play in a better night’s sleep. It’s important to ensure that you only use your bed for sleep and sex, so that once you are in bed you do not associate it with anything else – like work for example. Many of us are tempted to bring our laptops to bed in the evening to finish off a few emails, or first thing in the morning – and this is sending our brains the wrong message. Once you’re awake avoid lounging in bed, and instead get up and start your day.
Unwinding in the evening is also a great tool to aid sleep. Opting for a bath before bed, or meditation can prepare your body for rest and clear the mind of any of the day’s worries. It’s so important to go to bed with a clear mind, of course this may sometimes seem like a tough goal, but if you take up meditation for example, gradually you’ll be able to do just that. We should always try our best to go to bed without a burden hanging over us. If you’ve fallen out with a loved one for example, do your best to clear the air and reach a mindful resolution before saying ‘goodnight’.
If you’d like to try meditation we have a variety of sessions which you may enjoy and benefit from. Get in touch today if you’d like to know more.