I consider sleep to be one of 4 Pillars of Health, along with nutrition, mindset and movement. Read my first post on this here.
You’d probably be surprised at how important sleep is to your health and wellbeing. We’ve probably all experienced a bad night’s sleep and how that makes you feel the following day. Read about my recent sleep problems here. However regular poor sleep has serious consequences to our health.
Sleep is not a lifestyle choice
It is a necessity, the importance of which is probably underestimated by many. “Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.”
Source – http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx This piece also lists 7 ways a good night’s sleep can boost your health, including increasing your sex drive and fertility!
Thus the value of a good night’s sleep cannot be overestimated.
Some people may boast of only needing 4 – 5 hours sleep and others may be on their knees with only this amount of sleep. Shift patterns, family, work commitments, stress, anxiety……. may all disrupt our sleep arrangements: regularly or from time to time. Poor diet and stimulants (drugs, drink, electronics – games, phones) will all affect the quality of your sleep. Getting the right ambiance and routines can make a huge difference to our sleep quality. It is important to find a way to get good quality sleep.
Poor sleep will, initially led to short temper, inability to focus and fatigue. Poor sleep will affect your mental health, make it difficult to concentrate and make decisions, so increasing your risk of accident and injury. Continued lack of sleep increases your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
This is an extract from the Mental Health Foundation Sleep Matters report (2011), well worth a read!
“Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information.
Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Sleep Matters provides sound, evidence-based advice on how to improve the quality of your sleep. This includes simple ways to improve your ‘sleep hygiene’, such as adjusting the light, noise and temperature in the bedroom and changing your eating, drinking and exercise routines, advice which can also be found in Sleep Well, our handy pocket guide to better sleep”
This leads nicely onto how to address your quality of sleep.
Firstly there is no rule of how much sleep a person needs. It varies from person to person. It is important that people find out how much sleep they need, and then do it!
This is easy! Go to bed when you’re tired and allow your body to wake you up in the morning, switch off the alarm clock. This is one to do at the weekend, or on holiday. You may sleep over 10 hours at first, if you’ve got some catching up to do. This will decrease to find your normal level in time.
I will blog soon on how to get a good quality night’s sleep.
Sleeping poorly increases the risk of having poor mental health along with increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. A healthy diet and exercise can help to improve our health outcomes as can our mindset and sleep. You should take the consequences of poor sleep seriously. Sleep then is a really important Pillar to good health.
Do you get enough sleep?
Thanks for reading
Why Is Sleep Important? – https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why