Take Better Care of Your Sleep.

Whether you’re young or old, working, studying, in college, working in the home, looking after children, whatever your profession or stage in life, sleep is important. At the moment, we’re all spending much more time at home, many of us are working from home and we’re adapting and getting used to a new routine and a new normal. With everything that’s going on it’s no surprise that many of us are suffering with our sleep. Some are finding it difficult to nod off, some are struggling to wake up and many are struggling with quality of sleep, with our nightly dreams being plagued with nightmares and anxious thoughts.

Research confirms the importance of sleep and has found that a lack of sleep is detrimental to the mental health of developing teenagers. Dr Alex Agostini states that teenagers should get eight hours of sleep each night. “Without this, they’re less able to deal with stress such as bullying or social pressures, and run the risk of developing behavioural problems, as well as anxiety and depression” (Agostini, 2021). As a result of these findings, it is imperative that teachers and parents understand the importance of sleep. 

As many people know, sleep is key for learning. This encompasses before learning in order to make sure we can soak up all the information and afterwards in order to retain what you have taken in. Without sleep, you can’t absorb new memories or new information. There is a 40% deficit in the brain to make new memories without sleep. To put it into context, it’s the difference between a child passing and failing an exam. Sleep deprivation shuts down your memory inbox which means that it’s not allowing you to take in new information.

As you get older, your sleep gets worse. In Spring, when daylight savings time kicks in and we lose an hour of sleep, we see a 24% increase in heart attacks the following day. In the Autumn, when we gain an hour of sleep, we see a 21% reduction in heart attacks.

Sleep also has an effect on the immune system. There are natural killer cells present in the body which are good at identifying dangerous unwanted elements and eliminating them. What we are looking to have is a virile set of these immune assassins. You don’t have this when you’re not sleeping enough. Sleep loss will affect every aspect of your life.

What is really key and important when it comes to sleep is regularity. Getting into a routine. Whether it’s the weekday or weekend, ensure you are getting up at the same time each morning and going to bed at the same time each night. It will anchor your sleep and improve the quantity and the quality of your sleep.

Another tip is to keep it cool. Your body needs to drop its core temperature by about 2/3 degrees Fahrenheit to initiate sleep and to stay asleep. It’s the reason you’ll always find it easier to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold rather than too hot. Aim for a bedroom temperature of around 65 degree/18 degrees Celsius.  

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