Taking care of our bodies is important. It’s the machine that keeps everything going. Sure, other areas of our wellbeing may be important too, but it’s very hard to tackle those without looking after your body.
For many, the transition from working in an office has resulted in changed working hours, often with work bleeding into home life.
And for others, having the children home from school has thrown the world into chaos!
The only way to recover effectively is quality sleep, and “downtime” from work.
A good night’s sleep does more than most people realise, here’s just a few of the key things a good night’s sleep does.
- It improves your attention span and concentration
I think we all know this one. If you are tired, you can’t concentrate, your mind wanders and you just can’t quite think straight.The “Sleep Foundation” found in a study that being awake for 18 hours has a similar result to having a blood alcohol content of 0.5%, so it’s pretty clear that sleep is crucial.
- Sleep improves your memory
While we are sleeping, your brain continues to work away, and one of the tasks it does is to arrange your day’s experiences into memories. Basically, if you don’t sleep, your brain will not have time to file those memories away where you can find them later. That sucks for that all important test, or meeting, or even just where you put your car keys. Memory is very important.
- Sleep helps you regulate your weight
Some research shows that people who sleep fewer hours per night are more likely to be overweight, and I know for myself that when I’m tired I tend to eat a bit more, and not always the right things. But also, sleep allows the amount of glucose in your blood to reduce which helps to give your body a rest and helps to protect you from type 2 diabetes.
- Sleep helps you fight off cancer
Cortisol levels reduce while sleeping, this is often thought of as a “stress hormone” and people with reduced sleep are more likely to have abnormal cortisol patterns. Cortisol and melatonin (a sleep hormone) are 2 important ingredients your body uses to fight off cancer cells.
- Heart health, better immunity, reduced inflammation & improved healing
Studies have shown many areas where your body performs better. From improving healing times , to improving your immunity to reducing inflammation and even helping your heart health!
Basically, sleep is when your body repairs itself. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t repair itself fully. So it’s just hanging together by sticky tape.
Ok, so that’s pretty simple. You need to rest to recover.
If you don’t take this time to recover, your memory will suffer, your body will suffer, your mental state will change and you will generally have a tough time.
It can be challenging to find the time and to make the changes needed to get better sleep, but it’s essential for feeling (and achieving) your best.
Create a routine – Set a time to go to bed, and a time to wake up. Following a routine can help program your body to better sleep patterns.
Avoid technology in the hour before bed – That means no computer, laptop, phone, or TV. These interfere with your sleep rhythm.
Avoid or reduce alcohol – Alcohol can impact how much sleep you get as well as the quality of sleep. If this is impacting you, you may want to reduce your alcohol consumption.
Your bedroom is for sleep and sex, not work – Avoid using your bedroom as a room for other activities. Working from your bed, or watching TV in bed can greatly impact your sleep.