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The Importance of Sleep

A good night's sleep is incredibly important to our health, in fact, it's just as important as eating healthily and exercising. In fact if we don’t get enough, it can have a significant impact on our health both physically and mentally.

It's important to understand the significance of sleep and what might be preventing us from getting enough. If you are consistently struggling to fall asleep you should consult your GP. Worrying about sleep onset can make it even harder to fall asleep and addressing it is important to help you feel more like you!

So how much do we need and why is sleep so important?

For adults, it is recommended that we get 7-9 hours of beauty sleep per night. Reports suggest, however, that many of us are getting as little as 6 hours per night, leaving us feeling tired, miserable and walking around like zombies!

As humans, we spend a third of our lifetime asleep. There are a huge number of benefits to sleep; improvement of mood, behavior, immune system function, brain functioning, physical and mental health, being just a few. Unfortunately, sleep is often undervalued and poor sleeping habits are becoming an increasingly common problem. 

So what can we do to sleep better?

Well... there are a number of things we can do to improve our sleeping habits – from the moment we wake up!

ROUTINE

Try and go to bed and get up at the same time every day and, limit the difference in your sleep routine on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle.

FOOD AND DRINK

Ensure that you don't go to bed hungry, or too full. Heavy meals at night can cause discomfort and interrupt sleep. Try not to drink coffee after 3 pm - the stimulating effects of caffeine take hours to wear off and can really affect the quality of your sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it also affects the quality of your sleep leaving you feeling tired the next morning!

ENVIRONMENT
Your sleep environment influences your sleep quality. Your room should be cool, dark and quiet. Avoid light-emitting screens just before bedtime as this can influence your ability to fall asleep. Doing relaxing activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath and reading a book, might help promote sleep. 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Regular activity and spending time outdoors during the day can promote better sleep. 


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