Sleep is a non-negotiable in life. Every single animal on earth needs it. A good night's sleep is the cornerstone on which we base our day. It is essential to every process in our body, directly impacting both our physical and mental ability the next day.
So, considering this, why do so many of us neglect it? These days 8 hours of quality sleep is seen as a rare luxury rather than an achievable goal every night.
Even for those few of us who can boast to regularly reaching the 8 hour mark, time spent sleeping is too simple a metric to measure your sleep. What is as important is the quality of sleep you are getting and how regular your sleep schedule is.
For example if you have drunk alcohol, you may find you fall asleep quicker but your ability to achieve rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is drastically reduced, so you will still wake up tired the next day even if you have had 8 hours of sleep.
When it comes to having a regular sleep schedule, it is well documented how shift workers with constantly disrupted sleeping patterns are at a higher risk of developing illness’ like cancer.
So, firstly, let’s take a look at some of the biggest obstructions we face when it comes to sleep.
This is a big one. Stress affects every part of your life, and sleep is no exception. And it goes much further than those stressful thoughts keeping you awake as you stare at the ceiling. Stress affects your ability to truly relax your body and mind and sink into a deep slumber. If you are stressed you will often find yourself waking up multiple times during the night.
For most of us, dinner is our biggest meal of the day and it usually happens between 7 and 9. This is pretty much the worst eating routine you could have when it comes to your sleep.
We eat food to give us energy. If you load up with your biggest meal of the day and then go to bed a few hours later, you’ve given your body this huge source of energy to break down and pump through your system, and then tried to sleep. Not easy.
You’re much better off having a big lunch, burning that energy through the day and then having a smaller dinner, so you don’t go to bed on a stomach full of food.
Again, a pretty obvious one. Coffee’s main function is to keep people awake. It’s certainly something you should be avoiding close to bedtime. Ideally, it’s something you should avoid altogether, but at the very least cut out all intake after lunchtime.
TV and Phones.
The blue light emitted by your phone and TV screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. This makes it more difficult to both fall asleep that night and wake up the next day.
You shouldn’t really be sleeping with your phone next to you. Try leaving it at the other side of the room or even better, outside your room. Don’t worry, you’ll still hear your alarm in the morning.
Now that we have established some of the main causes of poor sleep, let’s take a look at exactly how lack of sleep affects your body.
You Get Sick.
Not getting enough sleep can impact your body's ability to fight off illness and infection. For everything from the common cold to recovering from an operation, rest and sleep is vital in allowing your body to both fight off illness and to heal.
Difficulty Thinking Clearly & Concentrating.
Not getting enough sleep is detrimental to your cognitive abilities. Things like memory, concentration, decision making, reasoning and problem solving all take a sharp downturn if you haven’t got a good night's sleep.
Increased Cancer Risk.
Shortened sleep or having an irregular sleep schedule has been proven to increase your risk of getting cancer. Unfortunately, this means shift workers like nurses are affected the most.
Increased Diabetes Risk.
Not getting enough sleep (and in fact getting too much sleep) wreaks havoc on insulin levels in your body, which makes you much more susceptible to developing adult-onset diabetes.
You Become Accident Prone.
You are 3 times more likely to be in a car accident if you get less than 6 hours sleep. That figure alone should be stark enough to make you get your sleeping schedule on point.
Your Appearance Suffers.
It goes without saying that everyone looks much better after a good night's sleep. Lack of sleep can result in bad skin, bags under your eyes and generally make you look unwell. This might not be the most serious side effect in the world, but still something that is easily avoided with a good 7 or 8 hours.
Luckily, all is not lost. There are some simple ways to improve your sleep and hit that 7 to 8 hour mark every night.
Drink BrightSleep Before Bed.
BrightSleep is a powerful scientific formula that uses natural vitamins and minerals to sooth your mind and body, and is the perfect remedy to ensure a tranquil and restorative sleep. Simple drink up and feel the effects in 20 minutes or less.
Bringing some physical activity into your day is a great way to improve sleep. The more activity you get through during the day, the more tired your body and mind will be when you crawl into bed that night, and the quicker you’ll fall asleep. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Napping is a big no-no. To put it simply, you are essentially taking some of the tiredness you need to fall asleep that night and using it up during the day. Also, naps rarely result in you entering REM, which is the deep sleep state needed to recharge your body.
Stick To A Schedule.
Ideally, you should be going to bed around the same time every night and waking up around the same time every morning. Our bodies love routine, so the more regular your sleep schedule is, the easier you will find it to fall asleep.
Have A Bedtime Routine.
Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids. It’s been shown that even with adults, a bedtime routine improves sleep. It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. Essentially it’s just a routine that calms you and relaxes your body and mind. This could be reading, meditating, listening to relaxing music, applying creams or lotions, whatever suits you. Basically a non-taxing activity that soothes you and lets your body know you are ready for bed.
So, there you have it. Hopefully now you have an idea of the importance of a good night's sleep, and how to get it. For those of you looking for a truly restorative sleep, BrightSleep is a great way to soothe and relax your body and mind, to ensure a restful night ahead. Check it out and see for yourself.