We all know how good it feels to have had a great sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. What you might not realise are all the benefits behind a good sleep. In this article we not only look at the benefits, but also include tips for when sleep evades you.
Amy Gallagher,Senior Sleep Physiologist at Cromwell Hospital, writes that sleep brings 8 benefits. These benefits include
Improving your attention and concentration
A good night’s sleep can help to keep your energy levels up. Not sleeping properly can mean that both your body and brain don’t function properly the next day.
Learn and make memories
Not only does sleep allow your body the time it needs to rest, repair and rebuild, but it does the same for your mind too. As you sleep, your brain begins to organise and process all the information you’ve taken on during the day.
Helping you maintain a healthy weight
Although more research is needed, some studies have shown that getting enough sleep can help you to maintain a healthy weight.It’s also thought that being sleep-deprived could increase your appetite, because it changes the level of hormones that signal hunger and fullness in your body.
Keeping your heart healthy
When you sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure naturally drop, to allow your heart time to rest and recover. But research has shown that if you’re not sleeping properly, your sympathetic nervous system remains stimulated at night.
To read more detail on these benefits and the other 4 benefits, view the full article here on Bupa’s website https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/benefits-good-night-sleep
Of course sometimes sleep just doesn’t happen easily. Almost 20% of the UK aren’t getting enough sleep according to www.mentalhealth-uk.org
Lying awake in the middle of the night?
You may lay awake for what seems like hours and then drop off just before your alarm. This is not uncommon. If you find yourself awake at 3am, tossing and turning, according to Dr Mosley, on his sleep podcast, after 15 minutes you should get up and leave your bedroom. Listen to the podcast here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d7003n
If you find yourself struggling here are some tips for a better sleep
Create a Consistent Sleep Schedule
A regular sleep and wake routine helps the body keep a consistent internal clock. Sleep experts recommend going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, including weekends.
Make a Quality Sleep Environment
Although individual preferences may vary, most people sleep best in a dark, quiet, and cool bedroom. An eye mask or blackout curtains can eliminate unwanted light, and earplugs can reduce distracting noises.
Avoid Caffeine, Nicotine, and Alcohol Before Bedtime
When taken in the afternoon or evening, caffeine can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. While some people drink alcohol before bedtime intending to get to sleep faster, alcohol is associated with lighter, lower quality sleep.
Exercise During the Day
Daytime exercise can make it easier to fall asleep, and daily exercise is associated with better sleep quality.
Avoid Screens Before Bedtime
Setting electronic devices aside at least 30 minutes before bedtime can make it easier to fall asleep.
Read the full article https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/benefits-of-sleep
The science behind sleep
If you’re interested in the science of sleep, do take a look at Dr Matthew Walker, (professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, the Director of its Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab.and a former professor of psychiatry at Harvard University) has published over 100 scientific studies and is the author of Why We Sleep.
He explains that sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorise, and make logical decisions, recalibrate our emotions, restock our immune system, fine-tune our metabolism, and regulate our appetite… and much more.
If you’d like to find out more Matthew Walker, you can read his book Why We Sleep or if you prefer to listen, he also has a podcast The Matt Walker Podcast on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/1aIVAabjRjnmiouX0zCzF3 and Apple https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-matt-walker-podcast/id1578319619
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