Quality sleep is important for our physical and mental health. It also helps support your immune system.
It is one of the best things you can do to help your body heal and is essential to how we function. However, I so often find that people struggle getting a good night of quality sleep. Here are some tips and info on sleep.
How much is enough?
While sleep requirements vary from person to person, most adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per day to function at their best. The best way to figure out if you’re meeting your sleep needs is to monitor how you are feeling throughout the day – you should be energetic and alert.
Good quality sleep?
There are two types of sleep – ‘deep sleep’ and ‘dream sleep’. Good quality sleep is about the amount of ‘deep sleep’ a person gets, not so much always the length of sleep. Most deep sleep occurs during the first five hours after falling asleep so it is important that you establish good sleep habits.
Good sleep habits.
It is a good idea to keep active, exercise helps tire us out and can help with a good night sleep. Try doing this in the first half of the day though where possible as exercising to late can make it hard to get to sleep.
4-6 hours before bed it is a good idea to avoid caffeinated drinks and food. This can be especially important when you are studying as although you may fall asleep it may be difficult to get into a deep sleep if you have had too much caffeine. Alcohol and nicotine are also best to avoid close to bed time.
In the lead up to bed try to mimic sunset, gradually start timing the lights (that includes your phone and tablet) and avoid to much blue light as it inhibits the release of melatonin which helps with sleep.
You can practice mindfulness, read a book or listen to music as a way to get to sleep.
A warm shower or bath can also help with getting to sleep and making sure that your room is free from noise and light.
If you can’t sleep
If you haven’t been able to get to sleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something else in dim light until you are tired again. Sometimes writing thoughts down on a notepad can help get them out of your head and remind yourself to deal with them the next day so you can get a good night sleep the day after.
Your bedroom is important.
Make sure you have a good sleep environment. This includes investing in a good mattress and pillow, making sure the room is the right temperature and dark enough.