Sleep. The benefits of getting enough sleep are well known.
From health benefits such as stress reduction, lower blood pressure and boosting our immune system to emotional regulation, memory building and just generally making us feel more energetic and upbeat, sleep seems to do it all!
There are apps to measure and track how much sleep we get – however we generally know how much we need to feel good and function well. Without it we’re irritable and not on our best form. Everyone’s got their optimal amount, I’m an eight hour (plus) girl!
Our sleep is one of the first things to be impacted by long hours at work, stress and anxiety. Night comes and we begin to reflect on our day, often highlighting aspects we weren’t happy with … Why did I say that to my partner? Was I deliberately left out of that deal at work? When will I ever stick to my gym goals? The list goes on!
We’ve all experienced times when we just can’t drift off, whether it’s because of a busy mind, illness or the after effects of screen time etc. Instead we toss and turn, clock watch and begin a mental countdown to when we need to get up again.
Our sleeping patterns can change, however some people seem to naturally be ‘morning’ people while others like to burn the midnight oil. A friend recently made me aware that our personal sleeping style has been compared to three birds. Which one are you?
- Night Owl – rise late, sleep late
- Lark – rise early, sleep early
- Humming Bird – display tendencies of both
I’ve also been advised by a reliable source that new parents, and those with young children, belong to a fourth category of birds – the ‘Permanently Exhausted Pigeon’…
If you’re interested in learning more about building better sleep habits, FutureLearn have a free online course on scheduled dates called Sleep Deprivation: Habits, Solutions and Strategies by the University of Michigan.
The TEDTalk by Matt Walker below, highlights just how important sleep is for us all and provides some inspiring points to make getting a good night’s sleep more of a priority in our lives.
If you’ve got any tried and tested practices that have helped you to build better sleeping habits, please share them with us below.
Thanks for reading!