Many of us think of sleep as switching off for the night to prepare for tomorrow, but did you know that your body works harder when you are asleep than it does when you’re awake? Through the night our bodies are doing repairs, processing information and improving our overall health. This is why medical experts recommend that adults between the ages of 18 and 65 should be getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
So why do we need to sleep?
There are several reasons as to why sleep is important for both physical and mental health. First of all, if you sleep less than 6 hours a night you have a 10% higher mortality rate than someone who gets between 7 to 9 hours. Your immune system also gets weakened against common viruses such as those that cause the common cold and the flu. On top of this, experts predict, you’re three times as likely to be involved in a car accident if you have had 6 hours sleep or less.
Sleep is also vital for your mental health, a lack of it can make current issues worse or even give you new problems entirely. Lack of sleep can leave you with psychological symptoms such as low mood, anxiety, erratic behaviour and poor cognitive function.
There are many benefits to getting a solid night’s sleep, the first of these being that your brain sharpens up for the day after. Sleep plays a big part in both learning and memory; a lack of sleep means that your brain doesn’t have time to fully process information and makes it harder to pull up information when you need it. Another benefit is an overall boost in mood as when you go to sleep your brain tells itself how to react to things that have happened through the day.
How to get a better night’s sleep
One of the best ways to improve your sleep cycle is to establish a routine. This means trying to go to bed at the same time every night so that your body clock can adjust. The next step is making sure your sleeping environment is suited to you in terms of having a comfortable bed, ensuring that noise, light and temperature are all at the right level for you. You should also try to limit stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine before bed. Finally, you should avoid electronic devices at least an hour before you go to bed as the blue light can trick your body into thinking that it is morning and therefore making very difficult to sleep.
Here at Newcastle Premier Health we have partnered with Talk Works, who provide therapies to individuals to improve mental health. If you have trouble sleeping, Talk Works can help with one-to-one confidential sleep assessments with a clinical/counselling Psychologist to review your sleeping patterns. As part of the assessment you will receive personalised recommendations to improve your sleep and boost your wellbeing. To find out more, contact Talk Works on 0191 490 9301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.