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Why Sleep Must be a Priority, and How You can get a Better Nights Sleep

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Happy 'National Public Sleeping Day!' (28th February)

Will you be napping outside in public today to celebrate? With temperatures as they are in the UK at this time of year, I am not recommending it!

After years of shift work, I am blessed with the gift of being able to nap pretty much anywhere. I love sleeping!

I have often thought that I might volunteer for one of those medical experiments where you get to sleep all day but the thought of being watched while I do does put me off.

Do you love sleeping or do you struggle to switch off to get to sleep?

What is your ‘pre-sleep’ routine?

Are you spending time winding down or are you all systems go until your head hits the pillow?

I need a good 7 hours of sleep. You really don’t want to be around me if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep. My ability to function is impacted, my concentration levels are poor and all I want to do is nap and eat! I am also incredibly short-tempered and grumpy.

I am the same if I don’t exercise or if I haven’t had time out. These are all important for me to keep the ‘stress bucket’ as near to empty as possible.

Sleep has so many benefits. The following are just a few:

  • Increases attention span for learning

  • Increases energy levels and stamina

  • Increases quality of life

  • Increases life span

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Reduces blood pressure

  • Reduces appetite

  • Increases metabolism

  • Reduces stress, depression and anxiety disorder symptoms

With all these benefits, and so many more it is interesting how many of us do not prioritise sleep. If we were to spend even just half an hour extra in bed our ability to function would improve mentally, physically and emotionally.

We cover sleep as a theme in one of the weeks on 'Thrive', we also discuss the importance of rest and relaxation. Often the two are dependent on each other. We need to be able to slow down and relax as a preparation for sleep however rest and relaxation can also bring many of the same benefits as sleep.

How much of a priority do you give to sleep, rest and relaxation?

Is your life mostly Formula One or do you take some time to go at a slower pace?

How much time in the week do you spend resting or relaxing and taking some time out of a busy schedule?

Do you stop for lunch at work and take a screen break or a technology-free walk around the block?

If you struggle to make it a priority then maybe ask yourself how different life could be if you were to increase the priority of slowing down and getting a good nights sleep.

If you can improve just some of those listed, is an early night or a little time out to empty the stress bucket not even more worthwhile?

Just try half an hour earlier for a couple of days and see what a difference it makes. Set an alarm for bedtime if you need to!

Here are 5 'Top Tips' to help you improve your sleep.

1, Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Become a creature of habit. Set an alarm for bedtime.

2. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Effects can take up to 8hrs to wear off. Withdrawal can affect how long you sleep.

3. Avoid alcohol before bed. It may help you to relax however it impacts REM sleep and the quality of sleep as effects wear off.

4. Relax before bed. Leave time to unwind an hour before you are scheduled to sleep. (set an alarm / use the Do Not Disturb button)

5. Get your sunlight exposure in the day. Daylight helps regulate sleep patterns. Aim for 30-60 minutes of natural sunlight. If possible wake up with the sun and open the curtains.

If you are you are struggling to sleep and feel it may be stress-related, or you are finding that coping with life is getting difficult and impacting the quality of your sleep, then why not get in touch and see how Phoenix can support you to improve your life and wellbeing.

First published Feb 2018

Republished Feb 2020

Updated and republished Feb 2021

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