The Power of Sleep
The Dalai Lama once said, “sleep is the best meditation”, and with proven benefits on both physical and mental wellbeing, the importance of a solid night’s rest really is key.
However, with issues often stemming from a lack of knowledge when it comes to the topic of sleep, as well as and growing impact of technology, how can you ensure you’re getting a solid seven to eight hours’ sleep every night?
This blog will look at the benefit a good night’s sleep has on health and wellbeing, and give you a few tips on how you can get the best night’s sleep, night after night.
It’s well reported that a healthy sleeping pattern will see the average adult sleep between seven to eight hours per night. We know there may be medical issues that could result in poor sleep hygiene, such as stress, sleep apnoea and insomnia, but not enough people know the health-threatening problems a lack of sleep can cause.
This is an issue particular prominent in the UK, as we’re continuing to see an increase in people suffering with a bad night’s sleep – as proven by a report released by the NHS in 2017. The report stated that the number of tests to diagnose sleeping disorders doubled from 69,919 in 2007-2008 to 147,610 in 2017.
However, what is it which Is causing the UK problems in the bedroom, and just what affects is it having on our health?
So, while sleep can lead to us feeling drowsy and grouchy the next day, not many understand the wider impact it can have on our mental health – especially on stress levels.
A lack of sleep can lead to a hormonal imbalance, especially cortisol – the hormone linked to stress levels. Elevated cortisol levels can cause a host of condition, such as insomnia, and a way to reduce cortisol levels is through a good night’s sleep. For any Alanis Morissette fans out there, this is a proper example of irony, right?
According to research led by Oklahoma State University, one way to help combat increasing levels of stress is by investing in a new, comforting mattress (time for us to leave this handy little link here: https://otty.com/products/the-otty-hybrid-mattress).
Conducted in 2009, the study saw 59 healthy adults (30 women and 29 men) sleep for 28 nights on their current worn mattress, before sleeping for the same amount of time on a new medium-firm mattress. The subjects were monitored throughout, with a huge focus on stress. Results proved that stress levels significantly decreased following the four week-long test, with participants feeling less worried, less nervous and less restless as result of a better sleep.
On the topic of changing your mattress, how long have you had yours? If it’s more than 10 years, you might want to look to change this.
Like anything overtime, an old mattress wears out, and can start to sag in places, and develop bumps and lumps. Ultimately, this reduces the amount of support provided, and can lead to an awkward sleeping position, which results in pressure being applied to all the wrong areas. As time goes on, sleeping like this will only result in a host of pains and niggles – especially in your back and neck.
And even if your ageing mattress looks amazing from the outside, the likelihood is that it’s a bit grim on the inside.
Without trying to put you off sleep for life, the average adult sheds a pound of skin per year and loses almost 300ml of moisture per night, with the mattress retaining much of this. The moisture makes the mattress the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and allergy-triggering dust mites. Realistically, they are unlikely to cause life-threatening harm, they can lead to a number of illnesses ranging from skin infections to an exacerbation of asthma conditions, which will prove problematic for the 21m asthma and allergy sufferers currently residing in the UK.
But how can I get a great night’s sleep?
The best night’s sleep isn’t about the amount of sleep you get, but the quality of sleep.
When you sleep, your body goes through four different sleep stages: 1, 2, 3 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. If any stage is disturbed, your body has to reset the sleep process, meaning there’s a chance that you may not reach stages three or REM – the two stages of deep and restorative sleep.
Just one night of a disturbed sleep can affect your health and wellbeing, causing mood swings, attention span deficits and vastly slowed reaction speed.
While certain lifestyle changes a sleeper can make to ensure they get the best sleep, consideration needs to be placed on what mattress they are sleeping on. According to recent studies, getting quality sleep on a new mattress can reduce stress levels and make the sleeper less restless through the night.
Tips to get a better night’s sleep
1 – Turn off all bright lights
Yes, this includes phones, tablets, computers and televisions. Power these off an hour before bed and the stimulation will help prepare your body for the sleep cycle.
2 – Create a consistent bedtime
Better deep sleep is about creating better habits. Try and stick with the same bedtime – even on weekends! This will help keep your body on track and easily find the right sleep cycle.
3 – Perfect temperature for sleep
Ok, so we all have different preferences for our preferred sleeping temperature. However, scientists have agreed that the perfect temperature for a body to rest is between 19-20 degrees celsius.
4 –Refrain from late workouts
Cutting straight to the point, workouts before bed will disrupt the amount of deep sleep we have as they release adrenalin-filled endorphins, keeping you up as you try to sleep.
5 – De-stress
It might be easier said than done, but there are a few simple ways to de-stress before bed. Check out our blog on some easy-ish yoga tips, designed to calm your mind and give you a better chance of a great night of rest.
Want to learn more about how you could improve your sleep? Visit our blog homepage and check out more of our tips.