We all dream of having a regular sleeping pattern but for a lot of us, sleep doesn’t fall as a priority in our busy fast-paced lives.
We can be so focused on getting things done or “not missing out” that sleep becomes a job rather than a living necessity. With that said; I propose a few points as to how and why Preston should focus more on getting it’s head down for a few more healthy hours.
We’re Animals; We Need Sleep
Studies on sleep show the detrimental effects withholding sleep can cause on a person. Each day without sleep makes it harder to handle cognitive and motor functions. Lack of memory, physical limitations, concentration, work and social life damage can all arise from delaying sleep.
There is even the physical risk of heart rate complications and higher risk of heart disease, hallucinations, metabolism fluctuations and even an increase in diabetes risk.
In fact, one study on an American found after 8 days without sleep he was “awake” but completely cognitively inept. A study on rats found after 2 weeks of sleep deprivation, it even caused them to die!
How Many Hours Should I Be Sleeping?
Though hours can differ based on the person and their age or other circumstances, it’s recommended the average adult get 7-9 hours sleep.
Too little sleep and we run risks explained beforehand such as cognitive, motor and physical problems. Too much sleep can actually produce similar complications, such as chronic heart and diabetic disease.
I’m a Busy Person, What About Napping?
Some people swear by napping or polyphasic sleep (1 hour sleep gaps) as long as you get enough during the day. However the importance of continuous sleep proves sleep quality for recovery is much better when we get our full uninterrupted session.
When we sleep our body enters a sleep cycle, but by waking up in a deep sleep early we can experience sleep inertia where we feel groggy and confused. If you need to nap, do it for only 20 minutes or so as your brain will not have settled into deep sleep mode. Most studies do suggest naps are not a replacement for proper sleep, even for the busiest workers.
Plus if you’re busy now, it might get busier if you can’t concentrate.
I’ve heard drinking water helps?
You’re right! During sleep our bodies repair and recover which uses a lot of water. Hydrating yourself before sleep can help your body work through the night while you rest. Just don’t drink too close to when you’re going to sleep or you’ll be interrupting your sleep running to the loo!
What’s best to do before going to bed?
1. Avoid screens. The ‘blue light’ caused from readers, tablets and phones prevents melatonin production which is what makes us sleepy.
2. Be careful of teas or coffees. Caffeine effects can stay in the body for 12 hours, stay wired for longer stopping us from feeling tired.
3. Try not to eat big meals less than two hours before sleep.
4. Avoid alcohol close to bed. Our bodies need to use energy to recover themselves, not spend our deep sleep processing out more toxins.
5. Avoid stimulant activities. No gymming, scary movies or work just before bed. We’re trying to shut down our brains and bodies before sleep, not keep them on ,100%.
Hopefully this has given a good insight into how important sleep is for our mental and physical wellbeing. It is a big part of our lives and should be treated as important as eating tea and going to work. So next time you’re ready to pull an all-nighter, consider the morning and how much better you’ll feel after a full 8 hours.
Richard Bullen is a private Psychological Therapist practing in Preston. If you want to know more visit www.rbpsychotherapy.co.uk