We need to get serious about our sleep.
A good night's sleep just might be the ultimate 'reset' button. Optimal sleep is vital for brain function as well as many physiological processes. Approximately 30% of people in the UK claim to suffer with poor sleep.
Short-term disrupted sleep can result in: stress, pain, reduced quality of life, mood disorders, poor recovery from exercise and reduced cognitive performance.
Long-term disrupted sleep can result in: high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, weight-gain, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Sleep disruption common offenders:
Concerns over work, school, health, loved ones or finances
Travel or work schedule. Shift workers have an increased risk of accidents, diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, stroke and cancer
Eating too much before bed
Nocturnal hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar waking you in the evening
Too much caffein
Being a parent of young children
Not being exposed to daylight during the day can disrupt your circadian rhythm
Ways to improve our sleep quality
Discontinue the use of electronic devices 2 hours prior to sleep. Electronic devices emit a blue light which can potentially disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. It does this by mimicking the blue-light that we normally receive from day-light which may result in decreased melatonin production.
Incorporate an evening meditation routine. Meditation can activate the parasympathetic nervous system allowing the body to enter a relaxed state.
If waking due to low blood sugar, eat a small low-glycemic snack 1hr prior to sleep.
Avoid large meals prior to bed.
Ensure your room is dark or use black-out curtains.
Try incorporating an epsom salt bath in the evening.
Make sure to get some day-light exposure during the day to help regulate your circadian rhythm.