"The shorter your sleep, the shorter your lifespan." Dr Matthew Walker
Now this may sound dramatic but that quote by Dr Matthew Walker will hopefully open your eyes to how important sleep is.
I could talk all day about it but that would probably be enough to send you to sleep so I will try and keep this relatively short.
In my opinion sleep is the most abused natural health remedy we have at our disposal...and it's FREE!!
Lack of or poor sleep can cause the following (plus many, many more):
- Tiredness - obvious I know
- Poor decision making
- Heart disease
- Brain fog
- Poor memory
- Weight gain
- Lowered sex drive
- Reduced immunity
Now if I said to you that I could give you a pill that would give you improved energy, reduce the risk of heart disease, would help you to lose weight, improve your memory and boost your sex drive you'd probably think I was dealing dodgy drugs but you'd also snap my hand off to get some.
So why do we all abuse sleep and not get enough?? Stupid really.
I understand that some have excuses like shift work and young babies for example but even trying to catch up with some naps where possible will help.
To give you another example of how powerful sleep is...during daylight savings time when we lose 1 hour of sleep the rate of heart attacks significantly increases. When we gain 1 hour the rate of heart attacks significantly reduces by around the same amount!
When I heard that it blew my mind - sleep is a powerful thing
So what causes us to have bad sleep?
There are 4 main factors:
Artificial Light - LED light from smartphones etc is very similar to blue light that keeps us awake. Reading on a phone for 2 hours before bed will reduce your melatonin (hormone that promotes sleep) by 50% resulting in your feeling tired the next day. It also delays it for the next 3 days.
Artificial heat - having your room too hot will effect your sleep. 65F or 18C is best for you. Your body needs to cool down at night to allow yourself to sleep well - a hot shower can help to bring blood to the surface and dump heat. If not cool your hands and feet with cold water as that can help too.
Alcohol - Many think by drinking alcohol that it helps them sleep but its just a sedative and in reality you 'pass out". Alcohol effects your REM sleep and dramatically fragments your sleep. You may fall asleep quickly but the quality isn't there and you'll wake up tired.
Caffeine - We all know caffeine is a stimulant and wakes us up. Did you know the half life of caffeine is 5-7hours. So 6 hours after drinking your coffee half of it is still in your system. Caffeine consumption will result in poor sleep.
Here are some tips for a great nights sleep
- Go to bed and try and wake at the same time each day
- Exercise at least 30mins each day but try to avoid 2hours before bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Avoid nicotine
- Have your last meal at least 3 hours before bed
- Avoid naps after 3pm
- Get some sun exposure for at least 30 mins each day - no sunglasses on
- A cool, dark room
- No gadgets in your room - definitely don't charge your phone in your room
- Turn off your wifi at night
- Take a hot bath before bedtime
- Avoid phones, laptops 2 hours before bed
If you are struggling to get to sleep or your pattern is disrupted the best thing you can do is to get some sun light in your eyes - obviously be careful staring directly at the sun.
Get up as the sun is rising and watch the orange glow of the sun outside for at least 10 mins. Then do the same as the sun is setting.
The sunlight regulates our circadian rhythm and will help to set your internal clock, in turn regulating your sleep and improving the quality.
I can only urge you to try and improve your sleep as the benefits are amazing!
Try to get to bed around 10pm and see how good you feel the next day.
Once you start sleeping well you will never go back to your old ways.
Give it a go and let us know how you feel.
The Team at Club One Hundred