CATCH THOSE ZZZ's
There are few things in life that can claim to be loved by all, but sleep is definitely one of them. While we might have our differences when it comes to its timings (to lie in or to get up bright and early?) … who doesn’t love some good sleep?
Unfortunately, more and more people complain of difficulties falling asleep. Many others have no trouble falling asleep, but can’t quite seem to get enough of it. The majority of full-time workers spend many of their days tired, despite having gotten a full night! So what makes a good night’s sleep so elusive, and why does this matter?
At Le Mas Candille, being in the business of resting and relaxing, we’re very interested in this question. Why is sleep so important? What can you do to guarantee a better quality rest? Let’s delve into it and have a look at some of the well-known tips and tricks for better sleep.
WHY IS SLEEP SO IMPORTANT?
Despite its importance in everyone’s lives, modern science is still unsure of exactly why we need to sleep the way we do. However, while we don’t quite know everything there is to know about it, we still know a good deal.
Sleep is essential to our brain and body’s proper functioning. One of sleep’s main functions is a process called “consolidation”. This is the process whereby our brains solidify and consolidate memories while we sleep. Essentially, this means transferring them from short-term to long-term memory. This process is vital for learning and development (this is why babies and younger children require more sleep than the average adult).
While everyone is different, it is estimated that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. If you’re not getting this, you may be inadvertently harming yourself.
Sleep is also essential for muscle repair, growth, and for synthesizing hormones. We often tend to think of sleep as a time of rest for both our bodies and our brains. In fact, the opposite is true: sleep is an active period for brains. It’s thanks to this active period that we’re able to rest and rejuvenate, both physically and mentally.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP?
According to the British government’s health website, one in three of us suffer from bad sleep. Sleep deficiency or deprivation can have substantial negative impacts. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you might have trouble making decisions, as well as trouble focusing. This can impact your safety – sleep deprivation is a common cause of car accidents.
As well as a loss of focus and decreased decision-making ability, a lack of creativity is also a common side effect of sleep deprivation. These can all severely impact the quality of your work, as well as your ability to work altogether.
Moreover, sleep deprivation can impact on your mood and your relationships with others. A big concern is the link between sleep deficiency and depression, suicide, and increased risk-taking behaviour.
So, those are the negatives… but what about the positives? What are some ways to overcome sleep deficiency, and what benefits will this have on your daily life?
ON THE UP: HOW TO GET A BETTER NIGHT'S SLEEP
When it comes to improving the quality and quantity of your sleep, recommendations centre around three main points. These are establishing a routine, reducing stress, and improving the quality of the environment you are falling asleep in.
TIP 1: ESTABLISH A REGULAR SLEEPING PATTERN
First of all, what’s this about a sleep routine? Experts suggest that going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day can have a significant effect on the ease of our ability to fall asleep. The basic science behind this is that we have what is known as an internal body clock. By establishing a routine for when we go to bed and wake up every day, you can essentially programme your brain and your internal body clock to become used to a set routine. This will make falling asleep come much more naturally to you!
Watch out for those weekends though – unfortunately, establishing a set routine isn’t something that can be done only 5 days a week. What’s more, alcohol can significantly affect your ability to have a good night’s sleep.
TIP 2: REDUCE STRESS & ANXIETY
The second big idea when trying to improve your sleep is to focus on reducing stress. High levels of stress or anxiety can make falling asleep incredibly difficult, as it stimulates the mind and keeps you wired. Not what you want! The solutions to this problem focus on winding down before a set bedtime. Avoid using screens and watching the news during this time – why not opt instead for a good book? Exercising in the daytime, even just 20 minutes, can help to drastically reduce levels of stress.
However, avoid vigorous exercise right before bed as this will again stimulate the body. Instead, practice yoga, or stretching, to help unwind the body after a long day, and to keep the mind calm. If you struggle with anxiety, get into the habit of writing a to-do list before bed. This will help to clear your mind and let you drift off in peace.
TIP 3: ADJUST YOUR SLEEPING ENVIRONMENT
Lastly, for better sleep, take a closer look at your environment. For a night of good quality sleep, you should be able to sleep throughout the night, without disturbance. This can mean focusing more on adjusting light and sound in your bedroom.
Are you right by a street and finding it too loud? Look into some noise-cancelling options, such as earplugs or a move. Alternatively, if you are finding it too quiet and this is unsettling you, look into some calming sounds or noises to have played in the background. Find yourself waking up frequently? Your room could be too light: test out an eye mask or invest in some blackout blinds.
Adjusting your sleeping environment also involves getting into the habit of properly winding down before bed. Whether it’d a warm shower or bath, a series of gentle body stretches, or a nice book and a cup of caffeine-free tea, find what works for you.
NEED A BREAK? HEAD TO LE MAS CANDILLE TO REST AND REJUVENATE!
If you’ve tried the above tips and tricks and are still finding good night’s sleep elusive, maybe what you need is a holiday. Check out our blog on why you need a break here!
In the digital age we live in, it’s more important than ever to schedule in some breaks. Take the time off work and commit to some relaxing & rejuvenation time. Ideally, choose somewhere calm and surrounded by a beautiful natural environment. Fresh air, beautiful views, and plenty of rest will do you a world of good.