Many seasons in life lead to reduced sleep. Whether it’s not having enough time in the day; stress reducing our ability to settle; children waking us; hormones playing up; the list can go on. But have you thought about if this lack of sleep is having an immediate & longer term effect on your mental & physical health?
During this season of a pandemic, stress levels have been heightened across the world as we come to terms with changes to daily life. It is easy to become overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, and feel like there is little that we can control. This can stop us falling asleep, wake us during the night & reduce the actual quality of our sleep.
Poor sleep has a much greater effect than just feeling tired though. Over time poor sleep can induce or amplify our feelings of stress or anxiety. We can struggle to think clearly & concentrate. We can become irritable, easily angered, leading to stressed relationships.
Physically poor sleep has negative effects too. Long term it can lead to increased blood pressure, heart issues, stroke, depression, obesity, skin ageing, & in the short term it makes it harder to be motivated to eat well and exercise. Most importantly at this time, poor sleep leads to reduced immune system function, reducing our ability to fight off infection & potentially resulting in flare-ups of other chronic illness.
So alongside what we eat and how we exercise each day, it is time to prioritise our sleep.
We’ll go into a number of ways we can improve our sleep in up coming articles but here’s some simple tips to start reducing worry & getting better sleep today:
•Take care of your body. Eat well, exercise each day, find routines that help support your body and mind. Don’t drink too much alcohol and avoid caffeine after midday.
•Take care of your mind. Spend time each day allowing yourself to process what has happened in the day, how you felt about it and what you could do differently next time. You can spend this time lying on the floor to stretch your body out & focusing on mindful slow breathing.
•Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Stay engaged with those around. Call an old friend, a sibling, check in with work colleagues, laugh with the kids. Maintain physical contact with those in your home. We need more hugs at present to help our bodies calm. We’re built for connection and our bodies relax when we’re engaged with others in meaningful relationship.
•Create a calm space to sleep in, give your body and mind as many clues as possible that it is time for sleep: A dark, quiet & cool room; read a book before sleep; use earplugs or an eyemask or both!
We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment. Sleep well.