The 6 Secrets of Sleep – Why sleep is so important for optimal health in women.
Sleeping well is essential for health, particularly in women. We’ve all had the occasional awful night’s sleep or late night and experienced how terrible you can feel the next day as a result. Poor sleep can cause symptoms such as lethargy, mood swings and lack of motivation. And chronic sleep deprivation can have significant effects on all aspects of our health.
But why is sleep so important and what exactly does it do that is so essential for our health and overall function?
- It’s the time for our bodies to replenish and repair
When we sleep our bodies can rest, our cells regenerate and our brains can reorganise. Rest is vital for our body’s replenishment and recovery, in order to prepare us for the day ahead. During sleep our blood pressure and heart rate lowers and tissues are able to repair.
- It gives us more energy
Sleep enables our bodies to recharge, enabling us to function to our optimum ability the following day. Without adequate sleep we feel lethargic and this can affect how we are able to function physically, emotionally and socially.
- It helps with hormonal regulation
Hormonal regulation occurs when we are asleep, and our adrenal glands are allowed to rest, which results in a reduction of stress hormones within the body.
- Sleep is important for brain functioning
Sleep keeps us focused for the day ahead, enabling us to concentrate, make decisions and process information effectively.
- Good sleeping habits can help with weight management
Good sleep patterns reduce stress hormones within the body which can help reduce the risk of obesity. Sleep also gives you more energy, vigour and motivation to exercise!
- Poor sleep is linked with depression
This is likely to be due to increased levels of stress hormones in the body and the affects of lack of sleep on energy and motivation for life.
Sleep is a basic human need and is essential for our overall health! In fact, it is just as important as diet and exercise.
So how can you improve your sleep patterns?
Good quality sleep is important and these steps can help you to improve your sleep patterns;
- You should try to aim to 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
- Avoiding laptops and smartphones before bed is important as these devices emit blue light which has been proven to make you alert and can lead to problems sleeping.
- Have a warm bath or evening ritual before bed to ensure you are relaxed and comfortable and ready for sleep.
- Keeping the room dark can help improve sleep quality.
- Empty your bladder before you go to bed and try not to drink within 2 hours of going to bed.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine before you go to bed.
- Try to go to bed at the same time each night.