Being healthy: more than what you eat and when you work out – Part 1: Sleep

Being healthy is so much more than eating clean and hitting the gym a few times a week, health is holistic. You could have the best diet in the world and be the most dedicated gym rat out there but that doesn’t always mean you’re healthy.

Have you considered how much of an impact the other parts of your life have on your health? Your habits, the people around you, your work – all of these things play a major role in being healthy.

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There are the obvious ones like how much sleep you get as it plays a huge part in remaining healthy. If you do not get enough sleep or the quality of your rest is poor it can have shocking effects on the rest of your body. Without proper shut eye you open yourself up to higher levels of anxiety, increase your body’s desire for unhealthy food, increase the risk of physical injury as well as impairing your cognitive function and opening yourself up to becoming high risk for a number of illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

So many of us don’t sleep enough and we treat rest as something we can push aside and catch up on later but in reality there is no catching up. If you sacrifice two hours of sleep to catch up on work you can’t get those back by having a lie in on the weekend, that isn’t how your body works. The recommended minimum amount of sleep is 6 hours, if you give up even 1.5 hours of that your alertness is reduced by around 32%, slowing your reaction times and impairing your judgment.

So next time you’re considering working late take a minute and think, what is more important, this document or sleep? If you go home and get into bed you’ll be refreshed in the morning and able to get back to what you were doing feeling refreshed and you’ll probably catch mistakes you were about to make as your eyes slowly closed in front of the screen the night before, if you don’t you might get it done but it probably isn’t going to be the best you’ve ever submitted.

But it isn’t just about sleeping more, it’s also about sleeping better, quality and quantity are important factors in getting a good rest and here are a few tips to help you get a better night:

  • Have a sleep schedule, it might sound childish but your body clock needs to learn when it’s time to switch off. Set yourself a bedtime and set yourself a wake up time and stick to it. Routine will help your body know how much time it has to unwind every night.
  • Use essential oils, there is a reason people have used the likes of lavender and chamomile to help them relax for hundreds – of not thousands – of years. Use good quality, natural oils, like those from NightingOils, and find a scent that works for you, put a little on your pillow and just relax.
  • Keep your room cool, we sleep better when it’s colder so try keep your room a little chilly and you’ll find yourself getting a better night’s sleep.
  • Try keep your bed as your bed. It is just for sleeping, not for hanging out in or working from. It should be a relaxing place where you go to rest.
  • Sleep in darkness and quiet, turn off all lights and screens, our brains are designed to produce sleep inducing chemicals when it’s dark which help us rest.

So take some time to consider your own sleep cycle and start putting your health before work, games and hectic nights out, give it a few weeks and see if you notice a difference.

To read the rest of this series:

Being healthy: more than what you eat and when you work out – Part 2

Being healthy: more than what you eat and when you work out – Part 3

Being healthy: more than what you eat and when you work out – Part 4

Being healthy: more than what you eat and when you work out – Part 5

Being healthy: more than what you eat and when you work out – Part 6

16 comments

  1. I definitely agree! Sleep is so important! To help me sleep better, I never take naps and I drink bedtime tea or warm milk an hour before sleep time. I found that this has really helped me sleep better

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    • I know what you mean, recently I’ve had so many events as the season is finishing before summer is here and it’s too hot to do anything so my sleep has been totally thrown so I’ve been relying on a nice cup of tea to help me get to sleep as quickly as possible to get those precious few extra minutes!

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  2. I’m looking forward to moving our youngest into his own room and reclaiming my sleep! I can’t wait to lie in bed reading to help me drift off…

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  3. Sleep is so unbelievably ! And people totally take it for granted! A twenty minute nap can literally change your outlook on life. Glad you’re spreading the word 🙂
    It’s a lovely piece of writing as well 🙂 keep it up!

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