“A consistent seven to nine hour sleep each night is the most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health” (Matthew Walker, Neuroscientist and Sleep Researcher)
With so many studies around the impact of sleep deprivation it seems we are only just beginning to realise the fundamental importance of getting a good night’s shut eye. Virtually every system in the brain and body is affected by the amount and quality of sleep we get. So much so, that getting a good night’s sleep each night is recommended by sleep experts as the best thing we can do for our health.
The benefits of sound sleep include lower blood pressure, higher immunity, better mood regulation and better coping mechanisms. Good sleep also increases your ability to learn new things, enhances memory and creativity and even keeps you looking younger for longer. Lack of sleep, however, causes forgetfulness and poor judgement and is linked to increased stress and anxiety levels, depression, food cravings and obesity. The latest research suggests that sleeping well reduces the risk of heart attack and cancer and may stave off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Here are some of the top factors that have been shown to contribute to getting healthy sleep:
Allowing sufficient time for 7 to 9 hours sleep
All of the research into the benefits of sleep suggest that most of us need 7 to 9 hours’ sleep a night to operate effectively, both mentally and physically. Studies also show that the last 1 to 2 hours are even more important to learning and memory consolidation, so you are really missing out if you are getting less than 6 hours.
Winding down 1 to 2 hours before bedtime
Many people live full-on lives and are still ‘wired’ when they turn in for bed. They may have been working or exercising late in the day, or watching TV programmes with negative storylines, checking emails or interacting on social media. All of these things stimulate the mind and generate adrenaline.
Allowing yourself some downtime before you go to bed helps to relax the mind and body in preparation for sleep. Turn off the laptop and put the phone away. Listen to some relaxing music or have a bath. Avoid anything too stimulating, such as watching the news or an exhilarating film.
Maintaining a healthy sleep routine
A healthy sleep routine means going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time each day, even at weekends. As creatures of habit, we have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns. By going to bed at 10 pm one night and 2 am the next, it can induce a mini ‘jet lag’ where our body becomes out of sync and this can affect our energy, mental performance and judgement the next day. Sleeping later on weekends won’t fully make up for a lack of sleep during the week either and will make it hard to wake up earlier on Monday morning. Getting into a routine with sleep is a great way to regain your vitality.
If you are struggling with sleep, hypnotherapy can help. Anxiety and stress are common causes of sleeplessness and of course worries about not sleeping only exacerbates the problem. Hypnotherapy helps by addressing the underlying anxiety and stress and re-training the mind in expectation of a good night’s sleep.
To find out more about hypnotherapy and how it can help you to sleep well, call 07514 931 096 or email me using the contact form.