You’ve no doubt heard that you should be getting eight hours of sleep every night, but why is this so essential to our lives?
Sleeping is not just a time for your body and mind to rest; your body is still hard at work while you sleep. During this time, your body rebuilds your worn down muscles and cleanses your brain. It is through this vital process, your mind and body can function smoothly.
Your emotions are also tied to your sleep; with one night’s sleep deprivation, it can cause an increased 60% negative feeling in your emotional response. So it doesn't come as a surprise that a secret to improving your health, creativity, productivity, and sense of well-being is to get thirty more minutes of sleep than you are now.
Over time, sleep deprivation can contribute to a decrease in our physical well being and can have some fairly nasty side effects. If you’re experiencing sleep deprivation you may encounter some of the following side effects:
Increased moodiness and irritation
Lack of motivation
Inability to concentrate
Reduced ability to solve problems or be creative
Weak immune system
Noticeable difference to your skin health
The easiest way to get more Zzz's?
Get to bed earlier! It might take some trial and error, especially if you're used to going to bed late or have a hard time settling down at night.
If you need a few ideas to help lull you to sleep, we suggest:
1) Try restorative yoga.
Restorative yoga is a slow and gentle form of practice that helps our body and nervous system to unwind. Using a bolster makes each pose more accessible and helps support your weight so your muscles can fully release. The slower pace and deep breathing helps calm the mind, releasing stress and encourages deeper physical and emotional awareness. Our free ebook will give you a start.
2) Banish LCD screens at night
Exposure to blue light has been found to reduce the production of melatonin; a hormone that is connected with normal body cycles and sleep. The reduction of this hormone can cause the body to not relax when needed to, meaning the time it takes you to fall asleep will be dramatically longer!
3) Reduce your caffeine and/or alcohol intake
Caffeine is known to act as a stimulant to the body, it can affect your body fairly quickly reaching a peak within 30-60 minutes after consumption. One study found that consuming caffeine 6 hours before bedtime reduced total sleep time by 1 hour. It depends on your body’s tolerance levels towards caffeine; if it usually helps you to stay awake and get work done, it is best to avoid consuming it before sleep.
Consuming alcohol can sometimes make you feel drowsy; but it also contributes to poor quality sleep. This is because it affects your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is often considered the most restorative type of sleep. When you do not get enough REM sleep, you’re likely to wake up feeling groggy and unfocused.
Reducing the intake of caffeine and alcohol will allow you to maintain a healthy balance in your body by giving it time and proper rest at night.
4) Keep your bedroom cool and dark
At night, your body temperature naturally drops as a signal to your body to slow down and rest. If your room is too hot, this process can’t happen.
Likewise if your room is bright, this can disturb your ability to not only get to sleep, but stay asleep.
These four simple steps can help you ease into a restful and restoring evening of sleep. More sleep means more energy and mental power to get you through your day.