Sleep ~ As kids none of us want to go to sleep, we all beg to stay up late, kick up a fuss when the lights go out and ignore parents when they suggest ‘one day you‘ll be excited to go to bed’.
As is often the case, the parents were right and my goodness sleep is the ultimate hobby when you reach the ripe old age of late twenties, early thirties.
The one catch is that it’s never as easy when you get older, never as easy to just fall into ten hours of unbroken deep sleep, in fact that sounds like an impossibility for many, especially without all the gimmicks.
Talking of gimmicks, I myself have bought into almost every single ‘sleep enhancer’ possible, from northern lights to CBD sleep gummies and foot masks that ‘make you sleep better whilst removing toxins’ - TikTok made me do it.
So what do we actually know? What is the science saying? Well there’s plenty of it and the most important take aways in my opinion are the benefits of good quality sleep on our mental and physical health.
We know that ~
Lack of sleep can increase feelings of anxiety and depression
Lack of sleep leads to difficulty in maintaining concentration and focus
Having a bad nights sleep increases feelings of irrationality and restlessness
Being tired can heighten existing negative feelings, for example self esteem
Bad quality sleep can make changes to your appetite and increase cravings for sugary foods
In a sentence.....Lack of sleep starts a vicious circle!
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say, have a great nights sleep and none of the above will occur! Of course that is not the case, however the risk and severity of the above and consequently impacts on mental health are certainly proven to be lowered by experiencing a good nights sleep.
So how do we make it happen? Well as I say I’ve tried anything and everything because sleep is my best friend. Some of my favourite tactics include, having a window open to keep the oxygen levels high. Ensuring the other half doesn’t nab the best pillow; purchasing decent pillows are a game changer. Turning my phone onto aeroplane mode an hour before I plan to sleep & diffusing essential oils (menthol and eucalyptus is my favourite, but ensure the window is open if you’re using oils or incense).
Suggested further reading on sleep ~
Matthew Walker - Why we sleep
Dr Gregg Jacobs - Say goodnight to insomnia
Guy Leschziner - The nocturnal brain