Nothing Like a Good Night’s Sleep!

sleepSleep is an investment in your health and wellbeing. Yet, we all try to cram so much into our days, that we end up stealing our precious sleep time, to our inevitable detriment!

Then, we are so wired when we finally get to bed, that we can’t sleep! But, as sleep is a prized goal for optimal mental and physical health, what should we do?

Here are some useful pointers:
1. Reduce the temperature in your bedroom to between 18C and 23C. Why? While you sleep, your body’s temperature naturally drops, so having a cooler room emulates this natural process and enhances sleep.
2. Allow a minimum of 7 hours to sleep each night, though 8 hours is optimal. Sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours each night statistically results in a 30% increase in death rates, compared to 7-8 hours of sleep. And don’t think you can do a catch-up on the weekend. It doesn’t work. You need to have regular sleep over extended periods.
3. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and avoid excessive alcohol, especially in the evening. They stimulate both mentally and physically making it harder to get to sleep, there is a poor quality of sleep plus they induce a diuretic effect so you have to get up to go to the loo. You may think that alcohol helps with sleep – not so. In fact, it may knock you out but you go straight into a deep sleep, missing the essential REM sleep. Then you have to get up to go to the toilet anyway!
4. Daily exercise, but avoid exercising 3-4 hours before bed so your body isn’t stimulated and hot. Exercise improves mood and relieves daily stress, as well as reducing restlessness at night. Aerobic exercise produces the best results for sleep. You can walk, run, cycle, skip, do pilates, etc.
5. Make sure you have a good mattress. You spend a third of your life in bed, so spend the time and money on a good mattress. Take your time while shopping- lying on a mattress for 10-15 minutes with your pillow (also a valuable purchase) is time well spent.

6 Reasons to get a good night’s sleep:
1. Improves memory (It is particularly important to get REM sleep for memory.)
2. Increases life span. (During sleep, organs replenish, blood pressure lowers and the body heals.)
3. Helps fight illness. (Sleep decreases inflammation which is linked to stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis …. Just about any illness you can think of.)
4. Weight control. (Quite simply, if you are asleep you can’t eat!)
5. Helps relationships to bubble. (Sleep makes you feel happier. Lack of sleep leads to arguments and unhappiness.)
6. Improves work outcomes. (When you have enough sleep, your thinking is clearer, you are more innovative, make less mistakes, are less distracted, etc. All this leads to better job outcomes.)

If you are having trouble sleeping because you have pain, then a visit to the physiotherapists at Hoppers Physio could be the ticket!