When you woke up this morning, how did you feel? Rested and refreshed or in desperate need of caffeine? And what were you doing last night? How many of us spend our nights flopped on the couch watching television, checking Facebook and staying up far too late than we should. This is a recipe for a disastrous night’s sleep.
It is my personal opinion that getting a good night’s sleep is the single most important thing we can do for our health and yet it is something we take for granted. It’s one of the easiest and cheapest health benefits there is and a good night’s sleep can make us almost instantly feel better. The difference is obvious if you compare how you feel after getting a restful, quality night’s sleep compared to when you don’t.
The hormone melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and acts are part of the signal to control sleep and wake cycles, acting as the body’s internal clock. As we age, our bodies produce less and less melatonin coupled with the visual stimulation of television, smart phones, computers, late night snacking and stress, it’s no wonder many of us don’t sleep well.
While everyone’s sleep needs are unique, the average amount of time needed is seven hours.1 Sleep is when our bodies have a chance to heal and repair; growth hormone is secreted during sleep which enables muscle tissue is rebuilt and restored, as well sleep is when we restore our mental energy too.2 When we are in a state of sleep deprivation we are at a greater increase for heart disease, diabetes, colds and flus, obesity and mental health issues.3 As well, the more sleep deprived we are, the more our bodies crave quick ‘pick-me-ups’ such as coffee, sugar and processed foods for an instant energy boost. This boost is fleeting though because while it may give you energy, it is only a temporary spike in blood glucose which will come crashing down soon after, leaving us in a cycle of feeling tired and eating crappy foods to cope. And of course, if you’ve ever been around someone who is sleep deprived you may feel like ducking for cover as their moods are often not pleasant. A good night’s sleep is good for our moods.
Here are a few recommendations for getting a good night’s sleep4:
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, chocolate, cola and other chemicals – these act are stimulants and may interfere with being able to fall asleep.
- Make your bedroom fit for sleeping – remove the television, laptop, smartphones and tablets, keep your room quiet, dark and cool, have a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make your room somewhere you want to go to.
- Be consistent – it’s hard, we all have busy lives but trying to maintain some consistency when you go to bed and when you wake up will help your sleep cycle
- Establish a relaxing pre-sleep routine – this could be making yourself an herbal tea, taking a bath, reading a book, meditation, gratitude’s or a favourite beauty ritual.
- Snack smarter – eating heavy meals or sugary snacks before bed may not only cause insomnia but significant weight gain. Trying to avoid eating after 8pm is a good rule of thumb.
My bedtime ritual often consists of drinking a cup of Natural Calm, applying moisturiser and a raw honey face mask, and having my room smell like lavender which helps relax the body and mind.
I’ve put together an amazing sleep pack featuring my favourite sleep-inducing products for you to WIN! The sleep pack features some a tub of Raspberry-Lemon Natural Calm, beauty products from Pure & Simple, a lavender essential oil and diffuser from Clinical Luxury By Nature and a Republic of Tea Get Relaxed tea sampler. CONTEST NOW CLOSED.
On that note, off to bed!
1. Why Do We Need Sleep? http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120228-why-do-we-need-to-sleep
2. Why Do We Need So Much Sleep? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3076707/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/why-do-we-need-so-much-sleep/
4. Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips