We all know that sleep is necessary to survival, but getting a good night’s rest can be harder for some than others. Whether it’s due to stress, excessive screen time, too much noise and disruption or even a diagnosable sleep disorder, lack of sleep can be hugely detrimental to our health.
As health and wellbeing experts, we’ll be delving into our top tips for getting a good night’s rest and how employee benefits can help, as well as exploring exactly what happens during sleep, and how a lack of it can affect mental and physical health.
What happens when we sleep?
Sleeping is the body’s way of using time to restore, rejuvenate and repair. After spending all day utilising our brains, exercising our muscles and fuelling our digestive systems, the body needs to take some time to slow down and process everything we’ve done.
When we fall asleep, our bodies go through 4 stages which cycle throughout the night. Each of these sleep stages perform different functions, such as tissue growth and repair, improving long term memory and allowing us to dream.
How can a lack of sleep affect mental and physical health?
According to the NHS, studies have shown that a regular lack of sleep can put you at risk of some serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Many factors can cause poor sleep. Often, stress and worry can interrupt sleep, and excessive time spent using electronic devices can cause us to go to sleep much later than is healthy. As sleep can have such a huge impact on our lives, it’s important to make sure that it’s as high-quality as possible.
How can I improve my sleep?
Try to go to bed at the same time every night
Getting into a sleep schedule is a great place to start if you want to improve your sleep habits. This will help your body get into a regular routine of sleeping and waking up at a similar time.
Reduce your screen time in the evenings
It can be easy to put off going to bed if you’re watching an interesting TV show or scrolling through social media. Why not try winding down before bed by putting your electronics away and reading a book instead?
Try to fit in some exercise during the day
If you are able to do so, fitting in some exercise to your day can help work off any built up energy that could be preventing you from getting enough sleep. Why not try a 30-minute walk, run or exercise class to your day to not only improve your sleep, but improve your fitness.