Just how important is it?
Do you get enough?
How can you improve it?
Sleep is IMPORTANT, and for most people the QUALITY & QUANTITY of sleep being achieved is inadequate…
If you sleep 5 hours a night, your risk of INJURY is 60% higher, compared to 8-9 hours. For those playing at home, that's a MASSIVE number, and something we should pay attention to.
Whilst we all need DIFFERENT amounts of sleep (person dependant, age dependant, situation dependant, etc), there are some hard & fast rules of how much sleep we should get.
A recent study showed that the PERCENTAGE of people who can survive on 6 hours or less sleep per night, without showing physical & cognitive impairment was 0%…
Now, before we stress you out for no reason, it is normal to wake 1-2 times during the night. It's an instinct from our cavemen days, but we should fall back to sleep without too much trouble. If you are waking more than this, or finding it hard to get back to SLEEP, then it may be worthwhile looking at a few strategies to improve sleeping PATTERNS.
Note the above word, PATTERNS, our body works on cycles & patterns, which are altered based on the DAILY ACTIONS & HABITS we create. So if you want to improve your sleep patterns, make specific & consistent changes to your actions & habits.
Top Tips for SLEEP HYGIENE STRATEGIES:
1. No Screens 1-2 Hours before bed. Try swapping TV for a book...
2. Set your I-Phone to engage 'night mode' 2 hours before bed time, eg. 8pm. This turns off the back lit blue light, blue light changes melatonin levels in our bodies, which prevents sleep from naturally occurring.
3. Get sunlight through out the day. At least 15 minutes worth. Again, this affects melatonin levels, but in a positive manner.
4. Move through out the day.
5. Complete Para-Sympathetic Breathing, Meditation, Gratefulness, Journalling. (See earlier post on benefits of para-sympathetic breathing on stress hormones).
6. Set up a dark room at 19-21 degrees for optimal sleep patterns.
7. Remove distractions in bed, such as TV. The goal is to teach your body that when you go to bed you fall asleep.
8. Not falling asleep? Avoid lying there for more than 15 minutes, get up and go read etc, before returning to try again.
9. Fall asleep and wake up at consistent times where possible, ie. 10pm bed time for 6am wake. Don't differ more than an hour on weekends where possible...
9a: Quality trumps Quantity, if you are not sleeping well, try making your bed time later and waking earlier. Slowly stretch out the quantity once the quality is there.
Side note: Suffer anxiety? Try leaving a note pad by your bed, to jot down any worrying thoughts, to help you remove them from your mind... Mindful vs. Mind Full.