We could always do with sleeping better. Now the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, it’s that time of year many of us dread waking up in the morning.
One of the biggest obstacles in reaching optimal health is a lack of sleep. Sleep is without a doubt, my favourite pastime and why shouldn’t be? Here are 14 reasons why a good nights sleep is so important to helping us beating those winter blues.
1) Sleep is the cheapest and easiest way we can boost our health. Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis is the biggest bang for your buck.
2) Disrupted sleeping patterns are responsible for nagging injuries, headaches, aches and pains, getting the flu, being tired all the time and even a reduced sex drive.
3) As human beings we’re designed to wake up when the sun rises and rest when the sunsets, just like our sun-driven ancestors and all the other diurnal mammals in the Animal Kingdom.
4) This is almost impossible in the age of electricity and lighting.
5) Our body physically repairs itself between 10pm and 2am and psychologically repairs itself between 2am and 6am.
6) If you’re going to bed later than 10.30pm on most nights then you’re cutting into your physical repair time which can cause chronic fatigue and feeling run down.
7) Awakening hormones like cortisol are released around 6am and peak around 9am.
8) Sleepy hormones such as melatonin start being released around 6pm so we can wind down and begin growth and repair.
9) The problem is that every time we see light, regardless of the source, the body starts releasing cortisol and inhibits melatonin making it hard to fall asleep.
10) We should ideally avoid bright lights and TV an hour before bedtime.
11) Cut down on stimulants after lunchtime especially coffee, as the caffeine will still be in the bloodstream well into the night.
12) Electronic magnetic frequencies found in electrical devices can also affect our sleep so turn off TV’s from standby and move your alarm clock away from your bed.
13) If you do use an alarm clock just make sure it’s on the other side of the room. An alarm I personally recommend is a sunlight simulation lamp. These alarm clocks gradually lighten up before your alarm goes off, so your body starts producing cortisol which helps you wake up naturally. It never fails and is a must in those dark winter mornings.
14) To get the most value out of our sleep we need to be getting to bed by 10.30pm every night and waking up no earlier than 6am. So, if you want to lose weight, build muscle, recover quickly from injuries and stay mentally alert and focused then make sure you are getting to bed on time.
PS. What helps you get a good night’s sleep? Let us know in the comment box below!