A good night’s sleep is a critical component of living a healthy life. Yet, too many people who could otherwise get a good night’s sleep, sadly don’t do so. Not because they don’t have the time for it, but because of other factors which inhibit them getting the right amount of rest. So, let’s look now at the benefits of a good night’s sleep, and steps to more effectively get it.
What Good Sleep Means
Everyone knows the difference between feeling rested and tired. Yet, fewer people understand that being tired isn’t just about feeling physical discomfort, it means your body is placed under greater physical, mental, and emotional strain. Missing a good night’s sleep now and then happens to everyone, but if it’s a habit it can indeed greatly diminish quality of life, and the ability of people to do crucial things like work at their jobs effectively. But with good sleep, the body will be optimised to take on any challenges the day throws its way, as it’ll wake up refreshed and energised.
How Much Sleep is Necessary?
Just as there are outliers when it comes to many aspects of the human body, broadly speaking, the same is true of sleep. Across the world there are some people who happily and healthily get by well each day on very little sleep, such as 4 hours a night. At the other end of the scale, some feel unless they’ve slept for 10 hours (or more!) then they’re not fully rested. Yet, as a rule of thumb, it’s generally recommended adults get somewhere between 7-9 hours sleep a night. Even if the great majority of the population falls within this range, some may find 7 is fine, whereas others indeed need 9.
The Importance of Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a critical component in this regard. There’s no doubt an array of factors contribute to a good – or bad – night’s sleep. Yet ultimately, a common culprit of a bad night’s sleep is not challenges such as having had too much caffeine too close to bedtime – or tossing and turning resulting from worries about daily life – but instead because bad habits have been established and maintained. Such negative habits can undermine both the preparation for sleep, and the time actually spent sleeping.
That’s why if someone is struggling to get to sleep quickly and regularly once they get into bed, it’s worthwhile to review what practices form part of a routine. The first point to note in this regard is having a routine is indeed important. By taking the same steps each night before bed – such as brushing teeth, switching off all lights around the home, and changing into pyjamas – it helps send a message to the brain that it’ll soon be time for some shut-eye. In addition, working to eliminate (and avoid adding!) counter-productive habits – such as eating too close to bedtime, or using digital devices in bed – is important too.