Posted by Eimear Finnegan on 20th Apr 2021

How Healthy Is Your Sleep?

Sleep is one of the most important factors in general health. It is recommended that you should get 7-9 hours a night so we have some tips that can help you get that every night!

It has been shown that inconsistent sleep schedules can decrease well being by affecting your self-awareness, self-control and overall self-regulation.

As well as this poor sleep can cause:

  • Mood disturbances
  • Low energy
  • Increased resting heart rate
  • Reduced performance (training & work)
  • Lower levels of testosterone (detrimental for muscle growth if training)
  • Increased hunger (reduced satiety)
  • Reduced gastro-intestinal function (digestion & food utilisation)

And many more…

Now that we know the damage caused by not enough sleep or poor sleep quality, lets discuss how to fix it!

  1. Routine

You should aim to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day. This will keep the body’s circadian rhythm (internal body clock) in check. This is important as it helps regulate biological processes.

  1. Caffeine

Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant with the main goal of keeping the body alert/ awake. For the average person it takes caffeine 8 hours to leave your system so try not to have it at least 8 hours before bed.

  1. Screens

All phones, tv’s, laptop screens produce blue light. This blue light suppresses melatonin which is responsible for promoting sleep. With this in mind you should end your screen time 60-90 minutes before bed. If this is not an option you should consider blue light blocking glasses.

  1. Guided Breathing

You should aim to reduce your heart rate before bed in order to help you fall asleep. Guided breathing or meditation is an excellent way to do this. An example of this is “Box breathing”. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds repeat.

  1. Hot Shower

A hot shower or bath is recommended 90 minutes before bed. This reduces heart rate and core temperature which both help to fall asleep quicker.

  1. Environment

Your bedroom should be a relaxing place and appealing to sleep in. Try to have no clutter lying around and also consider dark or black out blinds, eye masks or ear plugs if necessary.