Brooke Benson Campbell, wellness expert for on-demand wellness app, Blys shares her insights on how to get a quality night sleep...
We spend about one-third of our life either sleeping or attempting to do so. By the age of 90, we will have spent an accumulated total of 33 years in bed, which makes the time we invest in sleep is so important. Sleep is necessary for many of the body’s prime functions.
Some vital functions include:
Sleep boosts memory: Sleep facilitates the brain’s consolidation of information, moving the day’s learnings from short-term to long-term storage. To boost memory, sleep.
Sleep keeps weight in check: One of the interesting findings to emerge from the world of obesity science is that people who sleep less tend to weigh more. So invest in shut eye to keep off the kilograms.
Sleep eases physical pain: Studies show that sleep acts as a natural painkiller to manage and lower pain levels.
Sleep balances mood: Mood and sleep use the same brain chemicals and neurotransmitters for regulation, so to keep mood happy and stable, sleep is essential.
Sleep improves relationships: Research shows that a lack of sleep not only makes us more reluctant to interact with strangers, but also makes our brains less likely to respond to situations with empathy and understanding.
* How many hours does the average adult need? What about the young ones?
Research shows that most adults will require around 7-9 hours per night to function optimally, regardless of whether they are night owls or morning larks. However, it is also important to consider that sleep before midnight is seen to be nearly twice as precious as sleep after midnight – those sacred hours pre-12am are time for the body to repair and rejuvenate. School age children need between 9-11 hours, while teens require around 8-10 hours.
* Tips for getting a good night’s sleep/ a great winding down routine:
A good night’s sleep is largely governed by sleep hygiene. “Sleep hygiene” is a term used to describe a variety of practices and habits that researchers have determined will maximize hours spent sleeping. Avoidance of alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants in the hours before bed is important. These substances are known to affect hormonal changes that occur naturally during the night. Establishment of a calm pre-bed routine is also ideal. Switch off all blue-light transmitting devices and screens two hours before sleep to ensure that the light does not affect circadian rhythm and delay melatonin release (our sleep hormone). Lastly, make sure that the bedroom supports sleep by keeping it cool, quiet and dark; wear earplugs or an eye mask if necessary.
* Still struggling? Here's what you can do next...
Cortisol, our major stress hormone, causes changes to our circadian rhythm and our sleep/wake cycle, so supporting our natural stress response is vital to achieving a deep and restful sleep. A daily relaxation routine is important for maintaining sleep and mood, and can entail massages, meditation, yoga and gentle exercise. Massage particularly is shown to decrease levels of cortisol, while boosting melatonin and serotonin levels – essential for a heavy sleep – so I recommend those suffering from insomnia to make a massage appointment today.
On-demand wellness apps, such as Blys are a great option and allows you to experience a massage in the safety and privacy of your own home before bed. A powdered magnesium supplement taken 30 mins before bed on a daily basis will also go a long way to decreasing stress levels while relaxing a tired body and overworked brain.