Good sleep, along with nutrition and exercise are the fundamentals for good health. We all know sleep is important yet many of us don’t prioritise it enough.
Adults need 8 hours of sleep each night. Just as children benefit from having a consistent nighttime routine, so do adults. The more irregular your sleep patterns, the higher the risk for obesity, hypertension and high blood sugar. An irregular sleep schedule can cause irritability, drowsiness, mood swings, concentration and memory problems, headaches, and a decline in cognitive skills.
Our bodies crave consistency. With regular daily activities, our various body systems can prepare for and anticipate events. We naturally become more alert closer to our wake-up time and more relaxed and sleepy prior to bedtimes. Our digestive systems become activated in advance of regular mealtimes in order to more efficiently process food. Our bodies are designed to function optimally in a routine.
Tips to improve sleep:
Wake at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time each night, even on the weekend.
Avoid sleeping in, the more your sleep times differ each day the more jetlag like symptoms you will feel. If you need a sleep-in, make it no more than 2 hours to your normal wake time.
Exercise daily. Good sleep can maximise your athletic performance and a workout can help you get a good night's sleep.
Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories. Poor sleep affects the hormone that regulates appetite, which is why when you don’t get enough sleep you have a higher desire to snack on sugary treats. These high sugar foods can make it hard for you to get a good night's sleep.
Listen to your body when creating a sleep schedule. Keep it consistent and make sure it is going to work in with your lifestyle.