We are all guilty of not sleeping enough at times, and we don’t think much of it. But research shows that lack of good quality sleep really impacts our health and the quality of our lives.
You can eat a balanced diet, move regularly, and meditate, but if your sleep habits are all over the place, it will take a toll on your health. The average person needs 7-8 hours of sleep each night and this should be good quality sleep. So, not only that we need to sleep 8 hours, but that sleep needs to be deep, and preferably, undisturbed.
So why is sleep so important? This is the time when our bodies and brains recover from the daily, weekly, monthly stress. It’s also when our mind integrates all the experiences that happened to us during the day and a time for re-set, a bit like rebooting a computer.
Do you think you get enough good quality sleep? And the inquiry doesn’t stop here: How is your sleep hygiene? What habits of yours affect your sleep? How do you wind down before bedtime? Is your bed comfortable enough? Is there light or noise pollution in your bedroom? Do you look at the screen just before going to sleep? How does the lack of sleep and being tired affect your daily life and your relationships?
When we have not rested enough the level of cortisol (a.k.a. stress hormone) increases in the body, which can make us more anxious.
The short-term effects of not getting enough sleep are irritability, lack of focus and alertness, and feeling scattered-minded, which can affect our behaviour and relationships.
The long-term effects can be more serious: chronic sleep deprivation is linked to the likelihood of developing symptoms such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, or stroke.
If you feel like changing some of your sleeping habits start by looking at these factors:
-Your environment (mattress, light, sounds, temperature)
-Your behaviour (screen time, winding down, relaxing, last meal before bedtime, coffee or alcohol consumption) —- The quality of your sleep (tension, e.g. clenching jaw, getting up to go to the loo, tossing and turning, dreams, etc.)
A good night’s sleep is one of the main pillars of cultivating emotional wellbeing. As part of our School of Emotions series, we are introducing self-study courses full of practical tips and tools that you can use in your everyday life. Our first course, Cultivating Emotional Wellbeing: Using the Foundations of Emotional Health to Create Balance and Feel at Ease focuses on these pillars: sleep, movement, nourishment (food), and community (sense of belonging).
To help improve your sleep quality, check out the School of Emotions, and as always, let us know how we can support you.