With the rise of technology, modern-day living has embraced connectivity in exchange for an always-awake culture. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for self-care and for something regarded as important as exercise, good quality sleep is often neglected. High productivity and healthy relationships are just a few benefits of getting regular good quality sleep, yet 40% of individuals in the UK struggle with sleep issues and simply put, “humans are not wired to be constantly wired.” ― Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism.
Why do we need more sleep?
Throughout the day, life requires our energy and focus from many directions. Therefore, sleep is an important part of our physical and mental health - the more energised and ready we feel to complete life’s tasks, the better we function as humans. Sufficient sleep creates a greater sense of overall wellbeing, reducing feelings of fatigue, anxiety and irritability. Rested body x healthy mind = enjoyable life, right?
Sleep for productivity and safety
It’s often assumed that the more hours you work, the more productive you are. When in fact, choosing to sleep over excessive work results in higher cognitive performance during the day. Sleep deficient workers find that tasks take longer, make more mistakes and have slower reaction times: this can impact not only your productivity but your safety. “Reaction times increase as a person accumulates sleep debt” - this means that the more sleep a worker loses, the longer it takes to react during tasks or even the daily commute. Protecting ourselves in these activities is essential.
Tips to sleep better and improve your mental health
For many, a lack of sleep can be improved with small adjustments to your routine and work habits. Below are some actionable tips to improve your sleep:
- Sleep in sync with your body clock. By going to bed and waking up at the same time, you tap into your body’s natural sleep-wake rhythm, making it much easier to fall asleep at a regular point in the evening.
- Banking sleep. Many people think they can catch up on sleep at the weekends. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. It is recommended to continue your sleep schedule into the weekends and avoid the pattern being disrupted - consistency is key.
- Winding down in the evening. Accompanying a good schedule with an evening routine can encourage sleep. Many people choose to listen to music, use hot baths or relaxation techniques to promote the sleep process.
- Create the right environment. It is recommended to keep your room cool and align with your body temperature, which drops slightly before sleep. A less stuffy room will leave you feeling more refreshed in the morning.
- Less input, more peace and quiet. TV or computer screen lights can signal the brain to be alert. For this reason, blue light emitting devices should be avoided an hour before you are looking to rest, making the transition to sleep that much smoother.
Avoiding sleep deprivation
In the UK, there are many individuals with stresses or health reasons which can impact their sleep. Sleep deprivation is a condition that occurs from a consistent lack of sleep. It is a wide-ranging condition but usually occurs if you’re sleeping at the wrong time of day (out of sync with your body’s natural clock), don’t get the type of sleep your body needs or simply you’re not getting enough sleep at all.
We hope you have found useful guidance in this blog and more importantly good sleep in the future.