Shining A Light On The Importance Of Sleep
We need daily sleep to recover from physical and mental exhaustion so we can recharge. Roughly, we need 7-9 hours a night. It helps with concentration and productivity for better performance. According to the NHS, it is essential, just as exercise and eating healthily is, sleep not only boosts are overall health, but our mental and physical wellbeing.
However, it seems that us Brits fail to love our sleep, specifically those aged between 35- 44, this group just don’t get enough. Interestingly, women on average get around 4 minutes more sleep than men according to online Pharmacy chemist 4U, who did a recent sleep study revealing some interesting results. The real question is, are we getting more or less sleep during lockdown? Well, statistics reveal unfortunately 1 in 3 are getting less, which can link to further issues down the line.
The Science behind it
There are many complex reasons on why it is needed. From stopping sleepiness, evolution, storing memories, but journals show that when we are sleeping, there is still plenty of activity going on upstairs. Part of that, is the removal of waste products from brain cells, sleep keeps us functioning well and it has always been needed for survival. During the Pandemic, there has been an unfortunate rise on sleep deprivation. Prior, to this some of the common factors hindering our sleep include environment, negative thoughts, life experiences, health, alcohol, distractions, stress and worry, which have inevitably been heightened. So, what can we learn from this? We must not neglect our brain, we need rest, to switch-off and recharge. Don’t ignore it, take the right steps to live a happy healthier life. Acknowledge and welcome it, take the steps to make changes for a better sleep.
The benefits of sleep
Some of the advantages include:
- It improves your immune function. With a well-rested body and mind, cells and proteins get the rest they need to fight off what comes their way, such as colds or flu.
- Lowers the risk of weight gain, studies have shown those who are obese or overweight have poorer sleep quality. If you lack sleep, the body will naturally produce a hormone called ghrelin, boosting appetite, this means you are likely to eat more. Not to mention, stress will lead to food binging.
- Better athletic performance. A good amount of sleep has been liked to improved concentration and better cognitive function. Feeling energised, not to mention alert and having a sharper mind, this helps our performance levels.
- Prevents depression. A good quality sleep stops us from feeling moody, on edge or frazzled.
Our tips for a good nights sleep
- We recommend going to bed between the hours of 9:00 -10:30pm for optimum sleep, with a regular sleep routine.
- We encourage no TV or computer usage, ideally before you go to bed. If you do use electronic devices, make sure you switch those devices off 1-2 hours before you hit the hay. Studies show blue light from electrical devices can seriously affect how we sleep. At night, blue light affects your circadian rhythm, stimulating the brain, making it more difficult to sleep. Switch those devices off, completely off. You’ll wake up a lot perkier and happier the next morning.
- Go to bed with a clear mind, let go of concerns and worries. Shut off your brain completely, the mind should be relaxed as should you. Let it go-literally!
Things to note…
Some of the major factors determining what will provide you with a good or bad night’s sleep could be a few factors that we take for granted, such as how comfortable our beds and pillows are, not to mention, the position we choose to lie-in.
When sleeping on your Front:
Make sure this position provides you with some extra support; you may need extra pillows to achieve this. Sleeping on your stomach can exaggerate the curve of your back a soft pillow can provide support your stomach, whilst sleeping in this position.
When sleeping on Your Back:
Try not to do this with straight legs, as this can be detrimental in the long run. Sleeping like this can cause the lower back to arch and as a result, gives it no support.
If you do sleep on your back¸ bend your knees over a pillow to take the strain of the spine, check that your lower back is touching the mattress too.
Sleeping on your Side:
This Position gives you the best possible support! In order to maximise this position’s benefits, you should make sure your upper legs are higher than your lower legs, so that the hips can relax. If you tend to roll over (like most of us!) in your sleep stack pillows in front and behind you to maintain the position.
How do you choose the perfect pillow:
In all honesty that choice is based on how you decide to sleep, however as a general rule you will need the following:
- A firm pillow if you tend to sleep on your side.
- A medium-firm pillow if you sleep on you back
- A soft pillow if you sleep on your stomach.
Supporting your head:
Your head accounts for around 20% of your body weight, so you will need to make sure that it is well supported with a pillow. The key thing to remember is that whatever your preferred position is, your pillow should support your head and neck keeping them in line with your spine.
The Perfect Mattress:
A soft mattress can be difficult for most when they begin to move around in their sleep, if you stay in the same position for too long some ligaments may be stretched and lose their ability to support your spine, so the firmer the mattress the better support for your whole body. A good mattress should mould to your body, so that when you lie on your side your spine remains horizontal. For those with partners it may be best to choose that mattress of choice together, especially if there is a major weight and height difference.
Protecting the Spine:
If you are a person that tends to suffer from neck and shoulder pain, there are special pillows that can give you support. As an extra special treat for your aching muscles, you could have a quick shoulder and neck massage before bed with our Moringa oil, which has healing benefits that help aching muscles and their capabilities to relax and it also reduces symptoms of insomnia, if any of you have trouble sleeping.
Our conclusion, don’t neglect your sleep. If you are having trouble there are steps you can take to assist in a better quality sleep.
We hope to make the uncomfortable, a little more comfortable.
Sleep Well. Love Team SIA X
For more information or help, refer to some of our recommended links below: