Establishing a good sleep routine is essential for your health and wellness. Unfortunately, in this day and age, we are typically sleeping less as a species and our sleep quality has also decreased. Stressful days at work, excessive screen time and other factors can interfere with our natural patterns.

So, why is sleep so good for us? Firstly, it’s vital for our brain. It helps with cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance. When we are sleep deprived, all of these things are negatively impacted. Studies suggest that poor sleep can affect brain function in a similar way as alcohol intoxication! Maintaining consistent good nights rest also reduces health risk factors – there is evidence to suggest that those who are more sleep-deprived are more at risk of heart disease or stroke than those who get between 7 and 8 hours a night. Did you know people who get less than seven hours a night are three times more likely to catch a cold than those who regularly sleep eight or more hours? Studies have also shown that people who regularly get less than six hours shut-eye a night are more at risk to type two diabetes.

Poor sleep can also lead to mental health issues such as depression and those who suffer from conditions such as insomnia or sleep apnea typically report higher rates of depression. It can also contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Do you struggle to get a good nights rest? There are many things you can do to increase your chances of getting your eight hours. For one, make sure you are exercising regularly (but make sure you don’t do this right before bed as it can increase your energy. levels!). Make sure you aren’t drinking tea, coffee or too much alcohol before bedtime. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time consistently as your body will get used to this schedule. You should associate your bed with sleep, so just use it for that or sex – that means no watching TV in bed, working from your bed etc. Implement a bedtime routine that relaxes you and helps you to unwind after a long day – this could be taking a bubble bath, meditating or reading a book!

Check out last weeks Wellness Wednesday all about the benefits of a balanced diet here

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