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Sleep – are you getting enough of it?

Sleep – we are either really good at it or aren’t getting enough of it. The importance of sleep and it’s affects on the way we then think, eat and move is underrated. Without adequate sleep the way in which we handle situations can change, for example you might burst into tears over something that normally wouldn’t worry you, or snap at your loved ones.

When it comes to sleep if we are busy, which lets face it – our lives just seem to be getting busier and busier, this is often the first element to suffer. You might go to bed later to get more tickd off of your to-do list, or get up earlier in the attempt to fit more into your day. On average we need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but just like calories, the optimum amount for you varies to that of the person next to you.

Both the quality and quantity of sleep are important. You might only get six hours of sleep per night, but if this is good quality sleep you may feel better than those that get 9 hours of sleep. Generally poor sleeprs spend more time in bed becuase they arent getting the quality of sleep. Factors from stress, caffiene and alcohol intake, to your sleeping environment, and sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnoea and restless leg syndrome all affect how you get to and if you stay asleep.

When our bodies don’t get enough sleep our health, both mental and physical can suffer:

  • Linked to mental health disorders – some studies have shown that those that had less than 6 hours of sleep per night were 50% more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression.
  • Increases your risk of fatigue, risk of injury through decision making and affecting your cognitive function.
  • Can lead to weight gain.
  • Contributes to the risk of lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure.
  • Lowers your sex drive.
  • Decreases your recovery time and can slow your fitness, strength and weight loss goals.
  • Leads to lower energy levels so your training sessions can be affected.
  • When you are tired you make poor food choices, this then can affect your quality of sleep and so the spiral continues.

Here are my top tips for ensuring you get enough & good quality sleep each & every night:

  • Establish a bed time routine – just as you would if you have children, good sleep hygiene is sound in getting a good nights sleep.
  • Try not to shift your bed time by more than an hour each night – this assists in regulating your internal body clock.
  • Set an alarm to go to bed – this helps with keeping bed times consistent and can prompt you to stop scrolling social media and start snoozing sooner.
  • Avoid spicy, heavy meals before bed – these can make it harder to get to sleep.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise close to bed time – anything less than ~2 hours before bed & you may find it hard to wind down.
  • Limit your caffiene intake – this is a sstimulant and has a half life of about 5 hours – if you arent a good sleeper, I challenge you to reduce your caffeine intake and see if you notice a difference.
  • Avoid alcohol – this is a central nervous system depressant and actually affects your bodies ability to reach your deep sleep stages which are important for mental and physical recovery.
  • Limit screen time – put down your phone and switch off the TV.
  • Your bed is only for a place of sleep – no TV, studying, eating etc. Use your bedroom for a place of rest only.
  • Have a warm shower – the initial increase in your body temperature that follows a warm shower, then signals a decrease in your body temp. This is what signals melatonin levels to rise and is the hormone responsible for us getting to, and staying asleep.
  • If you find it hard to switch off at night time – have a notebook and pen next to your bed. Write your thoughts down so that you can switch off sooner.
  • Seek help for any sleep disorders you may have – simple lifestyle changes can help with this.

Sleep is so important for our overall wellbeing, especially our mental health. If you are physically active you also need to prioritise rest to ensure you are allowing your body the chance to recover and recharge.

So set those sleep alarms and start priotising more of the Zz’s!

Brooke x






Brooke Turner

Brooke Turner
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