Rebecca Nicholas, chiropractor at Back 2 Balance, wants to encourage every person to have an awesome night’s sleep. Read below for her reasons why getting a good night’s sleep is vitally important for health.
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, emotional health and ultimately quality of life.
The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, it also helps support growth and development.
Ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems, inc risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high BP and diabetes and stroke. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
Sleeping helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.
Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning math, how to play the piano, how to perfect your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. It also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
Studies also show that deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behaviour, and coping with change. Deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behaviour!
Children and teens who are also deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.
So what denotes good sleep?
Every one is a bit different….
On average, adults should optimally receive between seven and nine hours each night, but those needs vary individually. For example, some people feel best with eight consecutive hours, while others do well with six to seven hours at night and daytime napping. Some people feel okay when their bedtime schedule changes, while others feel very affected by a new schedule or even just one night of insufficient bedtime.
How do you know if you are on track?!
• You fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying down to bed.
• You regularly have a total of seven to nine hours in a 24-hour period.
• While in your bed, your sleep is continuous—you don’t have long periods of lying awake when you wish to be sleeping.
• You wake up feeling refreshed, as if you’ve “filled the tank.”
• You feel alert and are able to be fully productive throughout the waking hours.
• Your partner or family members do not notice any disturbing or out of the ordinary behaviour from you while you sleep, such as snoring, pauses in breathing, restlessness, or otherwise nighttime behaviours.
Shift workers who try to sleep during the day often wake up after fewer than seven to nine hours, because of the alerting signals coming from their circadian system.
This does not mean they don’t need seven to eight hours per day—it just means it’s harder to sleep during the day. Over time, this can lead to chronic sleep deprivation.
- Making the best sleeping environment
- Choosing the right mattress
- Finding the right sleeping position for you
Over to you… if you are a shift worker, have you found health challenges? How is your bedtime? Do you think your health issues are down to poor sleep? We would love to hear from you.