The science behind sleep has always been disputed, but should pressing that snooze button leave you feeling so guilty?

In our modern world, everything moves at such a fast pace that sleep seems to be our last concern.  According to News in Health, “Sleep is as important for good health as diet and exercise. Good sleep improves your brain performance, mood, and health”. As we try to maintain a healthy routine, that feeling of fatigue certainly catches up with us by the weekend. There is evidence that the weekend lie in is not a guilty pleasure but a benefit to your overall wellbeing. Sleep is crucial for your brain function so that you have the ability “to learn, remember, and create”. It is hard to look beyond the many myths that we are told, “one is that adults need less sleep as they get older. This isn’t true”. A ‘healthy’ amount of sleep for adults and children is between 7 and 9 hours but the most important aspect of sleep is quality rather than quantity.

For some of us, it is not the length or quality of sleep that’s a concern, it is the difficulty of falling asleep in the first place. When something is playing on your mind, curling up in bed and drifting off into dreamland seems to be impossible. The Mental Health Foundation outline four simple things to consider when you’re trying to find a solution to your sleep struggles – Health, Environment, Attitude and Lifestyle. That constant battle between tiredness and feeling lazy is something that everyone feels. If you want to keep your head against the pillow for a couple more hours on the weekend, then go for it!  The chances are once you find a way to manage your sleep pattern it will make you feel more motivated to face the day… whatever it may hold!

For those of you still struggling to switch off after a long day, take a quick look at News in Health tips and tricks.

 Tips to Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
  • Get some exercise every day. But not close to bedtime.
  • Go outside. Try to get natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Avoid nicotine and caffeine. Both are stimulants that keep you awake. Caffeine can take 6–8 hours to wear off completely.
  • Don’t take naps after mid-afternoon. And keep them short.
  • Avoid alcohol and large meals before bedtime. Both can prevent deep, restorative sleep.
  • Limit electronics before bed. Try reading a book, listening to soothing music, or another relaxing activity instead.
  • Create a good sleeping environment. Keep the temperature cool if possible. Get rid of sound and light distractions. Make it dark. Silence your cell phone.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and do a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy again.
  • See your health care provider if nothing you try helps. They can determine if you need further testing. They can also help you learn new ways to manage stress.

 

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Sources

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/sep/13/dream-on-the-surprising-health-benefit-of-a-weekend-lie-in

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2021/04/good-sleep-good-health

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/importance-sleep