Why sleep is more important than we think
Improving sleep can have great benefits for your overall health. However, it is an area that is so often overlooked.
The most common New Year’s goals are losing weight and exercising more. But the reality is the overall impact of improved sleep can have just as many benefits. So why don’t more people make it a goal?
Probably because it is something that is too easily dismissed. And also because there is a lack of appreciation of the difference it can make in our lives.
We take a look at why better sleep should be included as a priority.
Improving sleep – it’s not sexy but it is important
Margaret Thatcher was famed for her lack of sleep. And more recently business tycoons such as Tim Cook (the Ceo of Apple) and Howard Schulz (CEO of Starbucks) have prided themselves on minimal sleep.
There is a commonly held myth that sleep is for the weak. And sleeping less is often worn as a badge of honour.
But think about it logically and you will realise that there are plenty more tycoons that appreciate good sleep. And also, that a well-rested mind and body is going to be far more productive than one that is sleep deprived.
When you are sleep deprived, the ability to perform tasks that require additional energy is impaired and the ability of the system to overcome the deficiencies caused by sleep loss is limited.
And according to a Harvard study, the longer term consequences of chronic sleep deprivation can be of even greater concern. It can lead to a host of conditions including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even early mortality.
For the sake of both your good health and your productivity, it is time to prioritise good sleep.
Practical tips for improving sleep
There are a plethora of ways in which you can improve your sleep. Some are harder to do than others, but some are critical.
One of the most critical things you can do is to create the right environment. Our body and brains are affected by our natural cycles, and we are wired to associate sleep with darkness. For the best night’s sleep, ensure your bedroom is as dark as you can get it.
Look to avoid exposure to blue light at least an hour before you go to bed. Blue light has a short wavelength and is high energy. It tricks our brains into thinking it is still daytime. Phones, TVs and computers are the biggest culprits for emitting blue light, so get into the habit of avoiding all three before bedtime. If you use your computer in the evening, consider using a software called F.lux. This will reduce your exposure to blue light.
The second part of the environment is temperature. Apparently, there is an ideal range for night time temperature. According to Dr. Christopher Winter this temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Bizarrely, warm feet can help you drop off to sleep more quickly. If you do suffer from cold feet, try putting on a fresh pair of socks at nighttime.
Best of luck, and sweet dreams!