Could you really increase your wellbeing & resilience with sleep? Can you remember the last time you had a really good night’s sleep and woke up feeling well rested? Are you burning the candle at both ends and feeling it? Or wondering why you’re tired all the time? Maybe you’re constantly cranky? Or perhaps you’ve never really considered how your sleep affects your health but you frequently feel rundown?
Poor sleep is linked to an array of health problems from weight gain to depression and diabetes. Lack of sleep wrecks our immune system and is linked to an increased risk of cancer, alzheimers and cardiac problems. We spend a third of our lives asleep and yet the World Health Organisation has declared a sleep loss epidemic in the western world. Just why is sleep so critical to wellbeing and resilience?
Can You Increase Your Wellbeing & Resilience With Sleep?
Sleep Is Better Than A Pay Rise
A groundbreaking study by Oxford Economics and the Centre for Social Research https://www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/news/latest-news/2017/19-09-2017-living-well-index found that a good night’s sleep has a greater impact on our wellbeing than a pay rise (now we’ve got you’re attention). Sleep scientist, and author of Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker has even started lobbying doctors to prescribe ‘sleep’ instead of pills.
Ariana Huffington, Head of Thrive Global (we love you Ariana!) admits to having overworked and skimped on sleep until she woke up, so to speak and saw the connection between sleep and wellbeing. She’s now a worldwide ambassador for a good night’s kip extolling the virtues of sleep and it’s link to wellbeing and happiness. There is still a notion amongst some quarters that if we’re not sleeping it’s a measure of how busy and important we are. The reality? You’ll simply look haggard (we’ve been there) and increase your error rate not to mention the chances of developing the health related nasties we’ve already mentioned. The question then, is, are you getting enough?
Too Much or Too Little?
The traditional 8 hours is a myth. There is no magic number. Our circadian rhythm or internal body clock differs for each one of us. Around 40% of us are morning folk, 30% night owls and the rest sit somewhere between the two. It’s trial and error in terms of finding how many hours are just right for you.
Getting enough shut eye is an art form. But where do you start?
- Make time for sleep. Give it priority in the same way you would anything else related to wellbeing and health.
- Play around with sleep duration to see what works for you (we’re all different)
- Get into a sleep routine. Known as sleep hygiene, or developing a bedtime ritual and hour before you go to bed.
- If your mind is racing, journal. Write it down and put it away.
- Ban tech from the bedroom. That blue light will fool your brain into thinking sleep is the last thing it wants.