Sleep. It’s easy to forget how important it is, until you haven’t had enough of it!
In addition to healthy food and exercise, sleep is fundamental to human health. Poor sleep has been linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and stroke, inflammation, as well as mood disorders such as depression.
In contrast, good quality sleep has been shown to improve concentration and productivity, athletic performance and immune function.
In this article, we share some tips to improve your sleep habits. But first, let’s look at how much sleep you should be getting?
Recommended sleep times
The Sleep Health Foundation lists the following recommendations for age-related sleep times:
- Teenagers, 14-17 years old, 8 to 10 hours
- Young adults, 18-25 years old, 7 to 9 hours
- Adults, 26-64 years old, 7 to 9 hours
- Seniors, 65+, 7 to 8 hours.
Tips for getting more sleep
Turn off electronic devices
Your body’s natural time-keeping clock, or circadian rhythm, can be affected by exposure to blue light from electronic devices like smart phones and computers. Too much exposure can trick your body into thinking it’s still daytime and affect the release of melatonin, which helps you sleep.
Try to reduce blue light exposure at night. You could download an app such as f.lux or use glasses to minimise blue light exposure. Also, shut down the computer and turn off the television several hours before bed.
Avoid drinking caffeine late in the day
Did you know that caffeine can stay in your system for 4-6 hours? So, if you love a knock off espresso with colleagues, it may be time to reconsider your beverage choice.
Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and while it can do wonders to increase your concentration levels, the flip side is that it can stop you from getting a good night’s rest.
Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages after 4pm for optimal sleep quality.
Wake up and go to bed at the same time
As mentioned, your body has a natural time-keeping clock – its circadian rhythm. Getting up and going to bed at the same time each day can help regulate your circadian rhythm and your melatonin levels. Studies have found people with irregular sleep patterns reported poor sleep quality.
Create the right ambiance
It seems obvious, but do make sure your bedroom is conducive to a good night’s sleep! Keep the lighting dark, the temperature comfortable (18 degrees is a good temperature) and minimise noise. If you can hear external noise like traffic, you may like to consider ear plugs to block the noise.
Have dinner early
Do you enjoy a late-night snack? You may need to cut those out.
Eating late at night has been linked to poor sleep quality, as it can affect the natural release of melatonin. Also, avoid drinking fluids 1-2 hours before bed for improved sleep quality.
Sleep is vital to our health, so it’s important to take it seriously. It allows the body to rest and recuperate, and to fight off illnesses.
At Moving Mindz, we run a variety of programs designed to help participants make positive improvements in their life via our 365 Program. Get active, enhance sleep quality, eat better, be more mindful and learn about the benefits of practising gratitude.
If you’d like to know more, please get in touch!
4/22 Council Street, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122, Australia