Did you know that up to 45% of the Australian population have inadequate sleep? Research has shown that sleep plays a vital role in maintaining and improving your overall health and well-being, supporting healthy brain function, learning, memory, and development. Sleep is regulated by a hormone called Melatonin which is released by the Pineal Gland while we sleep. Not only does it regulate our sleep-wake timing, Melatonin also plays a crucial function in synchronising our cardiac rhythm, blood pressure regulation and stimulates the immune system. In addition, Growth Hormone production peaks during sleep, speeding up the absorption of nutrients and amino acids into your cells, which in turn aids with the healing of tissues throughout the body.
Not only is sleep important for your general health and well-being, it is also important for when we are in pain. Recent research shows that getting less than six hours of sleep is associated with a substantial increase in pain frequency and attention to pain the following day.
So, what can you do to improve your sleep? On average adults are recommended to get 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night however, this does differs between people. If you struggle to fall asleep, or wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep, then you might benefit from Sleep Hygiene.
What is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep Hygiene refers to the practices and habits that relate to a good night’s sleep. Evidence indicates that a restorative sleep can be optimised by implementing simple lifestyle rules and routines.
Sleep Hygiene Checklist
- Maintain a regular bedtime and wake time (even weekends if you can!).
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine to support your body and mind to relax, and the predictability of routine will help you drop into an effortlessly sleep. These include taking a shower, moisturising your ksin, reading a book, or do a 10 minute meditation.
- Regulate your bedroom temperature.
- Enjoy some regular exercise, but make sure you stop around 3 hours before bed.
- Ban all electronics from the bedroom – get off TV’s and leave the iPad and phone far away! The blue light emitted suppresses the biosynthesis of Melatonin, preventing the induction of sleep.
- Avoid the screens 2 hours before bedtime – the lighting plays havoc with the body’s release of Melatonin that we need to help us drift off to sleep.
- Make the bedroom a place for sleep, this means minimise the amount of time awake in your bedroom. If you’re unable to fall asleep, get up and make yourself a cup of tea until you’re tired.
- Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bed. Avoid late night snacking, as digestion can interfere with the release of Melatonin.
- Rethinking daytime napping even when you are tired. If you must, take a short 20-minute nap late in the morning.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine close to bedtime!
These small changes can make a huge impact on quality of sleep therefore, a huge impact on your overall health. So, do your body and mind a favour and allow yourself to get the regular rest you need.
Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite!