- Do you think you had enough sleep last night?
- Did you wake up before your alarm went off?
- Do you feel revitalized and refreshed when waking?
If your answer is no to any of the above, you are probably not getting enough sleep.
It is recommended that we have around 8 hours sleep per night.
Getting a good night’s sleep, like diet and exercise, is important for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Chronic poor sleep can lead to extreme tiredness. Good quality sleep can improve memory, help you to make better judgements and prevent sickness and weight gain. It supports heart health and can be associated with living a longer, healthier life.
- Sleep is important for:
- Boosting your immune system
- Managing blood sugar levels
- Reducing the effects of depression and anxiety
- Managing hunger – which is vital when you are dieting
Signs that you might be suffering from sleep problems can be:
- Difficulty in falling asleep
- Waking several times at night
- Waking early and unable to get back to sleep
- Low mood
- Poor concentration
- Feeling that you haven’t slept at all when you wake up
- Feeling tired all day
- Unable to do daily tasks
- Greater feeling of hunger
Sleep is an essential function, the importance of which we seem to overlook. Even people who know they have a real sleeping disorder, like sleep apnoea, sometimes avoid dealing with their problem. I recently advised a client to talk to the doctor about his sleep situation and he was immediately referred to a local sleep clinic. Tests showed that he woke up 61 times every 60 minutes during the night! No wonder he was exhausted during the day, constantly craving unhealthy foods and struggling to lose any weight. With medical intervention his energy levels have improved dramatically, and his weight is starting to reduce now that his cravings for sugary foods have lessened. He is feeling better.
There are various ways to improve your sleep habits:
- Stick to a regular time to go to bed
- Avoid large meals just before sleep
- Cut out ‘screen use’ in the bedroom
- Use a blue light filter when you’re using a screen in the evening
- Abstain from caffeine after 4.30pm
- Exercise during the day and not too late into the evening
- Lower the light levels in the bedroom
- Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable, (dark quiet and cool rooms are best for sleep)
- Write down your worries so you aren’t constantly thinking about them
There can be several reasons for poor sleep patterns. Some of us are just light sleepers but stress, stressful events, bad habits and a poor sleep environment can affect us.
Sleep problems are common. Most sort themselves out within months but long-term issues might need to be tackled with professional help. Working with someone who has the time to piece together what is going on can make such a difference. I find more and more of my time is spent helping my clients sift through issues with their daily routines, food habits, exercise programmes, leisure activities, sleep and other stressors affecting them or preventing them from achieving their goals. Sometime the obvious is staring them in the face but it takes an external person to see it.
Getting adequate, quality sleep is an important part of a healthy weight loss plan. Losing sleep while dieting can encourage overeating and reduce the amount of weight lost. Sleep is involved in healing and repair and our general feeling of well-being. It influences the immune system, memory consolidation, attention, hunger, mood, response time, and many other body functions. Please don’t underestimate its importance!
Last month I tried two new vegetables – roasted Jerusalem artichoke and fresh chicory in salad. I also rescued my Nutribullet from the back of the cupboard and restarted my home-made smoothie routine. A success!
Richard Marfell Wellness Coach 07800 636004