Did you know that 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep?
At Bestwest Care, we are passionate about encouraging people to look after their health and wellbeing. With sleep deprivation proving to be an issue for many of our clients, we are committed to spreading awareness about ways to take care of your overall health and happiness.
With Sleep Awareness Week falling from March 14-20 and World Sleep Day on March 19, 2021, now is the perfect time to take a moment to think about your sleeping habits. Could you be getting more sleep?
Is sleep actually that important?
A good night’s sleep does more than just keep you alert, consistent quality sleep has a huge impact on your quality of life and wellbeing.
Skip sleep for too long, and you could find some harsh consequences on your life, family, work and leisure activities.
Some specific issues that can arise due to lack of sleep include:
- A tired driver is more likely to cause accidents, injury and death
- Tired students can struggle with attention, leading to poor grades and low motivation.
- Tired employees can influence the workplace negatively, bringing a lack of productivity, reduced reaction times, inattention and reduced problem-solving abilities to the job.
- Tiredness and lack of sleep for older people can have a big impact on their overall wellbeing and response to illness and medication use.
But how much sleep do we really need?
That all depends on what phase of life you are in. Kids typically go to sleep early and wake up early while teenagers love to stay up late and sleep in.
Healthy sleep is made up of two natural internal processes that help keep our bodies on track.
The first process increases our need to sleep the longer we are awake, in other words – the longer we stay up, the more tired we find ourselves.
The second process, which is known as circadian rhythm, runs on a 24-hour cycle and helps us feel awake during the day and sleepier at night. Also known as the sleep-wake cycle, this process is strongly influenced by light, so it is natural to feel sleepier when it is dark.
The timing of the circadian rhythm varies from person to person – this is why we have “night owls” and “morning larks”. While some people feel naturally energised in the morning, others may struggle to be productive until later in the day.
Kids typically have the earliest circadian timing of all age groups which can explain why they get sleepier early in the evening. Teenagers and young adults have a later circadian timing, making early bedtimes and wake times pretty challenging.
Older adults, on the other hand, tend to shift back to an earlier sleep-wake schedule. While each child and their parent may have their own bedtime preference, spending time in natural light and establishing a solid day and night routine can help promote healthy sleep.
As you get older, your sleep needs will naturally change. These can also be influenced by:
- medications you take
- mental health issues
- pain management
- other environmental factors
Find more information about sleep on The National Sleep Foundation’s website.
How do we make sure we get a healthy night’s sleep?
We should always try our best to ensure we listen to our body and try and get some proper rest as much as we can.
However, sometimes it’s just not possible to have a perfect sleep every night. People can get sick, stressed or sometimes you may be due for a new mattress and struggle to get some comfortable shut-eye.
This National Sleep Awareness Week, we’d love to challenge you to try and make time for sleep. Here are a few suggestions of ways you can transform your sleep schedule:
- Keep a sleep diary for a week to track how your sleeping habits.
- Think about how long it has been since you replaced your mattress.
- Download some sleep tracking apps – some good ones are Sleep Cycle and Sleep Score.
- If you can never seem to get yourself to sleep, find a sleep doctor if need be.
- Celebrate World Sleep Day
- Plan ahead for sleep during the evening to make sure you get enough shuteye
Want to know more about sleep? The Sleep Health Foundation have put together some useful fact sheets, covering everything from caffeine and sleep to how to sleep on a hot night. Take a look here – you’re bound to find something relevant to you!
Please note that those should be used as a guide only and should not be used as medical information. Please get in touch with your GP for specific conditions and problems.
This World Sleep Day and National Sleep Awareness week, it’s time to take a moment to think about your sleep habits.
Always make sure you make time to sleep and keep it a priority and you’ll find a huge difference in your overall health and well-being.