Feeling sleep deprived?
The problem is it isn’t always easy to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, as we age this can get even harder as you wake more often during the night. During a restful night’s slumber your body will go through a cycle of light, deep and active sleep. Each stage is important. But it’s when our body is in deep sleep (which is about 20% of the time) that our body repairs itself. This is when the organs detoxify, our body replaces cells, heals wounds and builds up muscle. As our body rests, our blood pressure is lowered giving the cardiovascular system a break. Sleep is also a really important time for brain function. This is when our minds can archive memories, process new information and exercise important neurological connections. These are all vital for brain development.
How many hours' sleep do you need?
But how much do we really need to help rejuvenate our body? The truth is that everyone is different. Margaret Thatcher may have famously said she only slept for four hours a night, but most adults need between 7-9 hours. School children need around 9-11 hours a night and teenagers between 8-10 hours of shut eye. Regardless of our age, the best sleep habits are ones that are consistent. This is why babies and children have a bedtime routine to help their bodies wind down before bedtime.
Top tips for a good night's sleep
- Being consistent will reinforce a good sleeping cycle. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. If you’re planning a late night at the weekend, only try to tuck yourself in an hour or two later than normal.
- Limit screen time at night. The blue light from your laptop or phone can make it harder for your brain to shut down. So it will find it hard to recognise that your body needs to go to sleep. Instead have a shower or run a bath. Or why not read a book to help your body (and mind) unwind?
- Don’t eat a heavy meal or drink caffeine before going to bed as it can trigger insomnia. After all, this is the last thing you need when battling sleeping woes!
- Try to limit any naps during the day to just 30 minutes. Any longer than that and you may not be tired enough at bedtime.
- Make sure your bedroom isn’t too hot, or too cold, and is dark enough to not disturb you when the sun starts to rise. Take a look at investing in a Wake-Up Clock which uses a gentle light to wake you up gradually, helping to reset your internal body clock and create a healthy sleep cycle. We love ours!
- If stress is causing you to lay awake at night, talk to a friend or relative to try and ease those worries. Make a list of the ways you can hopefully combat it. Do this earlier in the day so it’s not on your mind before bedtime.
- Be happy. Book some holiday from work, plan fun social events and make the most of having some time away. It can be so good for the mind, body and soul. As a result, it can help give you a restful night’s sleep too.