Could getting more sleep be the answer to your health?

Sleep
“Sleep is the
best
meditation”

- Dalai Lama XIV

 

Exercise and adequate nutrition have long been regarded as the major players in keeping us well.

Hopefully, by now you realise it’s not that simple. In fact, the Association for Size, Diversity and Health produced an awesome video awhile back talking not only about the lack of effect our body weight has on our health but also pointing out all the other [important] parts of our lives that contribute to good health. That’s things like getting access to clean water, a roof over our head, happy relationships and so on (check it out here to watch).

 

Could getting more sleep be the answer to your health?

Whilst it can’t be the answer to everything, getting on top of any sleep woes will go along way towards getting your health mojo back.

Here are some things we know about sleep:

  • Getting less than 6 hours sleep/night is associated with increased risk of health outcomes like DIabetes, Cardiovascular and Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke
  • It’s early days, but it appears lack of sleep is likely to cause low grade inflammation (with a possible link to cancer) and changes in some of the hormones linked with our eating (like grehlin, leptin, growth hormones and cortisol). Hormonal changes can have knock-on effects of disturbing our appetite, food intake and blood sugar level control
  • Interestingly, >9 hours has the same effect; meaning we probably need to find the sweet spot of enough (but not too much) sleep

 

Top seven tips for getting more sleep

  1. Establish a sleep routine and go to bed at the same time each night
  2. Spend an hour winding down each night before you go to bed
  3. Try not to go to bed on a really full stomach and equally don’t go to bed starving
  4. If it’s been 20 minutes and you can’t sleep, get up and do something else. Then, try to go back to bed again later
  5. Avoid technology (TV, computers and phones) in the bedroom
  6. Get some time in the sun during the day
  7. If the above doesn’t work, start to use a sleep app like this one to evaluate your sleep OR check out the sleep health foundation for more tips and services available.


What if you are getting enough sleep but still feel exhausted?

If you are feeling constantly tired but feel like your sleep is in check, here are some things to check in on:

  • Are you drinking water regularly?
  • Are you eating enough protein foods? Enough carbohydrates?
  • Are you moving your body most days of the week?
  • Are you eating regularly?
  • Have you got some fruit & vegies in your life
  •  Are you getting plenty of downtime from your phone and computer?
  • Are you managing any mental health concerns like stress and depression?

Above all, don’t let any sleep worries get in your way of living a healthful life. Chat to your local medical practitioner for more help if you need it.

 

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