We’ve all heard people say that sleep is important, but why?
Sleep is vital for...
- Overall health
- Recovery Adaptation
- Muscle gain Weight management.
- Physical and cognitive performance
- Mood, energy levels & feelings of wellbeing
In order to promote all of the above, the National Sleep Foundation recommendations for sufficient sleep is 7-9 hours per night for adults (National Sleep Foundation 2015), but many of us are getting a lot less!
Insufficient sleep can lead to...
- A change in appetite and increased hunger. Sleep helps to regulate hormones such as Leptin, the ‘Satiety Hormone’, and Ghrelin, the ‘Hunger Hormone’. Lack of sleep can, therefore, cause hormonal disruption that leads to an increase in hunger and a decrease in satiety, which makes dieting, weight management and general life much harder!
- Impaired cognitive function
- Decreased performance and therefore an increased risk of injury
- Reduced overall activity level, which can then have an impact on weight management and physical health
- Negative impacts on mood and energy levels, which are vital for social, emotional and psychological health
So how can I improve my sleep?
Let’s get into the practical tips to promote good quality, long-lasting sleep...
- Sleep in a dark room and avoid blue light
- Reduce noise or opt for constant low-level noise, such as from a fan
- Sleep in a cool room as heat can delay sleep onset
- Avoid alcohol after dinner
- Avoid caffeine 6hrs before bedtime
- Exercise during the day to promote better sleep at night
- Stick to a consistent sleeping schedule
- Work back from the time you have to be awake to make sure you are getting to bed in plenty of time for those 7-9hrs!
- Establish a pre-bed wind-down routine that will soothe you rather than stimulate you
- Melatonin has been shown to improve sleep quality
- A lack of magnesium can impair sleep so it might be worth considering this. However, if you are consuming sufficient levels of magnesium, adding more in won’t produce any further benefit
- If stress and anxiety is a problem, try lavender
Promoting sufficient good quality sleep is so important for health, and when working towards any goal - don’t overlook its impact!