Friday, 8 March 2013

The Importance of Good Sleep....and how to get it?

Of all people i know how it feels to get a bad night sleep. M.E goes hand in hand with major sleep problems.  I'm currently in the midst of a bad case of insomnia which has thrown my whole lifestyle into chaos.  While i was researching this i was surprised to see how much sleep actually does for you. It made me realise, it could be a contributing factor to many of the issues i have with my health. Its been a very long time since I've had a full restful 8 hour sleep and maybe this is affecting me more than i know...
take a look....

Why Is Sleep So Important?

In General sleep has a major role for good health and well being and  to help us solidify and consolidate our memories.
Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
The way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping. During sleep, the body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.
The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.

Healthy Brain Function and Emotional Well-Being

  • Studies show that a good night's sleep improves learning. 
  • Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
  • Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain.
  • Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behaviour.
  • Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.

Physical Health

  • Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. 
  • Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke
  • Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity
  • Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). 
  • Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a role in puberty and fertility.
  • Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.

So How Much Sleep Do We Need? 

As you can see in the chart below, sleep requirements change massively depending upon your age, and what your body needs to do while its asleep -which makes sense that newborns and young children need to sleep for almost half to three quarters of the day.

AgeRecommended Amount of Sleep
Newborns16–18 hours a day
Preschool-aged children11–12 hours a day
School-aged childrenAt least 10 hours a day
Teens9–10 hours a day
Adults (including the elderly)7–8 hours a day

How To Get Good Sleep?

This list is obviously not exhaustive (pun not intended!), and actually some of it surprises me. I drink alot of Pepsi Max and to read that it stays in your system for EIGHT HOURS....that's a surprise.

To improve your sleep habits, it also may help to:
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. For children, have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine. Don't use the child's bedroom for timeouts or punishment.
  • Try to keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends. Limit the difference to no more than about an hour. Staying up late and sleeping in late on weekends can disrupt your body clock's sleep–wake rhythm.
  • Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Avoid strenuous exercise and bright artificial light, such as from a TV or computer screen. The light may signal the brain that it's time to be awake.
  • Avoid heavy and/or large meals within a couple hours of bedtime. (Having a light snack is okay.) Also, avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
  • Avoid nicotine and caffeine (including caffeinated soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate). Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants, and both substances can interfere with sleep. The effects of caffeine can last as long as 8 hours. 
  • Spend as much time outside every day and be physically active.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark (a dim night light is fine, if needed).
  • Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed.
Napping during the day may provide a boost in alertness and performance. However, if you have trouble falling asleep at night, limit naps or take them earlier in the afternoon. Adults should nap for no more than 20 minutes.

It Makes You Think....

No matter what beauty products, make up, creams, lotions, potions....we need to try and remember that beauty really does start INSIDE.  There are so many things our body requires of us to do, to eat, to sleep -and we need to consciously make an effort to do alot of them.
I did a post on 50 foods that are good for you - alot of them are obvious, but  there are some that aren't  ones that jump to mind, and the variety of ways to get them into the body are various that it shouldn't be a chore.

I do feel a bit of a hypocrite as I'm probably the worst cuplrit for not getting the "5 a Day",  not drinking the 8 glasses of water,  not eating fish, meat once or twice a week or getting regular air....

I didn't start the Beauty DIY and Tips thinking about what we need to do for inside our bodies to be at their maximum best.  My initial thought was for how to make your own face mask, how to make your hair shine...But from that post and this, its obvious I'm abusing my own body by not giving it what it needs INSIDE. 

Its hard for me not to go on to try and explain why my illness causes me not to do alot of the above things, and I've written  paragraphs three or four times and deleted as this is a general post for sleeping. Not about me and my illness!

Does some of this surprise you as it did me? 
How is your sleep pattern? 
Ive found its defiantly a post that makes you think, and i hope it hasn't bored you that i wrote this, but i always knew sleep was important for you, but i didn't realise HOW important it was.

If you got here, thank you for reading and i really hope i haven't put you off my blog!!! And most of all, i wish you a good night sleep and sweet dreams....



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