Why and How to Sleep Better

Ever wondered why you should want to sleep better and how to? Let me fill you in and hopefully convince you to make some changes…

Sleep is a key body function and one we can easily override and inhibit, by pushing through tiredness and trying to do too much. Modern night time technology habits also don’t help us.

What many people don’t realise is that sleep isn’t just about giving the body down time. It’s is actually where some essential body processes take place:

  • Consolidation of new information into your memory, helping with info recall and learning
  • Growth regulating hormones and appetite regulating are produced and released  – lack of appetite regulation can => eating more => weight gain
  • The body’s natural repair and regeneration processes

What Poor Sleep Can Do To You

So if you are NOT sleeping enough or sleeping poorly, is it any wonder:

  • your memory and learning ability may be impaired
  • you feel drained and worn down
  • Focus and attention span are a struggle – enter procrastination and taking so much longer to get things done.
  • eat more (and probably poorer quality as lets face it, junk can feel easier to acquire than good food, especially when you are tired).
  • Your body is not able to let the parasympathetic nervous system take over for a while and allow the body to truly relax and do it’s work to produce the hormones that help keep us functioning well. If it can’t do this enough, you will end up compounding any stress responses already in the body.
  • Your fat burning ability may be impaired.

Poor sleeping habits over the long term will have an impact on your wellbeing and health as a whole, not just you feeling tired.

How to Get Better Sleep

So here are some tips to help you get better sleep:

  1. Aim to get 7 – 9 hrs each night
  2. Start the wind down procedure 1 hr before bed, so your mind can start to slow down:
    • turn of technology (TV, phones etc), read a book.
    • try some deep slow breathing exercises
    • try some meditation
    • stretching before bed has been shown to help the body
      relax and help with their sleeping habits – see my post Stretch to Sleep Better.
  3. Don’t snooze your alarm and go back to sleep. Waking up at the next alarm mid-way through a sleep cycle can leave you feeling more tired than if you got up when you first woke up.
  4. If nothing else helps or you are having trouble staying asleep or still feeling drained after a full night of sleep, perhaps seeking help from a medical professional might be the next step.