The key to a healthy body and mind is to eat well, exercise, and have enough sleep. But, we aim our focus on eating our vegetables and hitting the gym 3-4 times and week. We forget about the importance of sleep, and how it benefits our physical and mental health. In the UK, we have on average 5.7 to 6.8 hours of sleep, that’s at least 100 minutes of sleep we are losing every night. In comparison to the rest of the world, people in the UK are losing 34 minutes of sleep every evening. That’s roughly 8 days a year!
In today’s society, we are in the mindset that we must work until late and wake up early in order to be successful. It’s not about working hard it’s about working smart and making sure to put your health first.
Here are some benefits that show the importance of sleep. It helps to:
- Reduce Stress
- Improve your immune system
- Improve your memory
- Helps to maintain a healthy weight
- Keeps your heart healthy
- Reduce the risk of depression.
There are so many benefits to a good nights sleep. So, here are my tips on how I achieve a good nights rest.
1. Skip The Caffeine after 12pm
I do love my coffee. But, a study has found that if you consume caffeine 6 hours before bedtime it can reduce your sleep time by an hour. So, your office coffee at 4pm or a quick cup once you get home at 5-6pm can harm your sleep pattern and leave you wide awake counting sheep. Therefore, I have a rule at work, once it has reached mid-day I switch to water and cut the caffeine.
2. No Blue Light an Hour Before Bed
It is proven that exposure to blue light before bed slows down the production of the hormone melatonin which tells your body it’s time to sleep. Your body has its own internal alarm clock and relies on external forces such as daylight and darkness to know when to release melatonin. Therefore, blue light be it from sunlight, tv, or phone light can reduce the quantity and quality of your sleep. For example, I used to have light diminishing curtains to keep the sunlight out in the morning. In my boyfriend’s room he has light exposure curtains, I found at home I was struggling to wake up, at my boyfriends I was waking up around 7am on time, which showed my body clock working. Therefore, I recommend investing in light exposure curtains, and an hour before bed I try to use as little blue light as possible. Before I used to toss and turn in bed, now once my head hits the pillow, I’m out like a light.
3. Relax and Clear your Mind
I spoke about this in my self-care when working 9-5 post. But, it’s important to start an evening routine to get your body and mind on track to go to sleep. Mine usually starts around 8pm, in which I get myself comfy into PJs, cleanse my skin and moisturise, have some me-time this could be, reading, meditating, journaling or listening to music. I always try and aim to go to bed for 10pm, therefore I stop my blue light usage at 9pm. In the hour before bed, I do try to unclog my brain from any thoughts, worries or stress which I’ve carried throughout the day. My usual go-to in for unclogging my brain is meditation, even for only five minutes, I open my eyes feeling refreshed.
So, as you can see there are so many aspects to the importance of sleep. Let me know in the comments below any tips you have on how to get a great nights sleep.