Let me run you through my sleep last night
- 9:30pm – Head to bed, patting myself on the back that I’m going to have an early night.
- 9:30pm-10:30pm – Get lost in the time warp of social media!
- 11pm – finally fall asleep.
- 1am – wake up to my son calling out “mummy I need to go to the toilet”. Love it!
- 3am – wake up to daughter crying, get up to check on her give her a few pats.
- 3am-4am – back in bed laying there wide awake!
- 4am – finally fall back to sleep.
- 6:30am – my husbands alarm goes off and the day begins.
Definitely not an ideal night’s sleep, but unfortunately, sometimes this is reality. If you’re a parent I’m sure you know nights like this all too well. But in order to feel vibrant and attentive – and in all honesty – in order to be healthy, you must sleep well. Much better than my sleep last night! Lack of sleep can affect everything … your mood, your ability to make good decisions, your physical ability, concentration, pretty much everything. And it can also lead to a number of longer term health issues.
We all know and feel the obvious benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, but here are three benefits that you most likely did not know about.
1. Weight loss
Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested. So sleep well and you will be less hungry all the time. Strange but true.
2. Improved Memory
During sleep you consolidate information, experiences and skills you learnt or practiced during the day. A good night’s sleep helps you retain and recall this information later when you need it.
3. Reduce Inflammation
People who sleep fewer than 6 hours per night have higher levels of inflammatory protein in their blood. Inflammation is linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke arthritis and premature ageing. So sleeping well will help avert these nasty things none of us want in our lives.
So how much sleep do we really need?
Adults need between 7-9 hours a night. My sleep last night, as mentioned above, gave me about 6.5 hours of interrupted sleep. I can tell you when I got up this morning I definitely felt like I didn’t have enough sleep. Although there were a couple of factors that were out of my control, there is one glaringly obvious thing I can change, and that is don’t stare at my phone for an hour before bed!
Here are a few things that you can try to start your journey to a better night’s sleep.
- Switch off devices 30 minutes before bed.
- Create a healthy pattern by going to bed the same time every night and waking up the same time each morning.
- No more caffeine after 1pm.
- Exercise daily.
My hope would be that everyone learns to love sleep and make it a priority. Not the same thing will work for everyone but if you are one of the many people getting less than 7 hours of good sleep a night, I encourage you to start making changes tonight.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and best tips for a good night’s sleep below.