Why Is Sleep So Important?

Sleep plays a vital role in our lives and is essential for recharging our bodies after our daily activities. You might have noticed that you’re more emotional or short-tempered after a night of poor sleep. Or maybe you’re less productive and not as focused on your daily tasks. Perhaps you have no energy, motivation, or desire to engage in any activity. There are many factors that influence how long and how well we sleep, but one effective way to help improve our sleeping habits is by establishing a bedtime routine. 

Let’s get into it!

The Health Benefits of Getting a Decent’s Night’s Sleep

It’s recommended that adults aim for between 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Regular, decent-quality sleep is associated with countless positive health outcomes across the entire health spectrum. In terms of physical wellness, good sleep has been associated with improved metabolism, in addition to enhancing our immune systems through regulating our production of antibodies designed to fight infections that may enter our bodies. Not to mention, a nice nightly rest can reduce the risk of numerous chronic diseases, including cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes. 

Better Organ Function? Yes, Please!

Better sleep is also directly linked to an impressive improvement in the functioning of our organs, by regulating our breathing and blood pressure rates. Good-quality sleep  can even restore cells, release hormones, and boost our energy levels. On top of that, researchers believe that during deep sleep, our brains increase the release of the cerebrospinal fluid, which may help remove waste proteins, potentially reducing our risk of Alzheimer’s disease! 

This leads us to the mental benefits! 

Better Sleep for Better Mental Health

Countless studies have pointed out that better mental health goes hand in hand with better sleep. Sleep can both contribute to (and be a symptom of) certain mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and ADHD, to name a few. In the same vein, sleep can help regulate our emotions, enhance our mood, build resilience, and influence our ability to cope with negative emotions. Research has also found that the amount of sleep we get on a daily basis can impact our capacity to think reasonably and intuitively. That’s aside from enhancing our verbal communication too, so if public speaking isn’t your thing, you may want to reconsider dedication to your bedtime! 

Enhanced memory (for short-term and long-term) and attention span are also a couple of the many mental health benefits that may result from improved sleep. And if you’re a busy bee, then you’d better prioritize your sleep as much as you’d prioritize marking off those tasks, to amp up your efficiency levels and reach that peak performance!  

Apart from setting the right ambiance or finding the right positions to sleep at, it’s often the details in the fine print that have the biggest effect, and one major factor is our lifestyle!

Lifestyle Habits

Our lifestyles can have a significant impact on not only the amount of sleep we get, but also the quality of that rest. The daily choices we make regarding physical activity, nutrition, alcohol and tobacco consumption, and technology use make up just some of the lifestyle factors that can influence our sleep. While these conditions are somewhat in our control, there are other elements that are beyond the limits of our capabilities, such as weather conditions, loud neighborhood, rigid and tight working schedules, medical conditions or stressful events, or being on certain medications that may cause sleep disruption as a side effect. Be that as it may, by establishing and maintaining a proper bedtime routine, setting ourselves up for a quality night of rest is definitely an attainable goal. So, we’ve compiled for you some techniques that can help you prepare your body and mind for improved nightly rest. 

#1. Cultivate Good Sleep Hygiene

Good sleep hygiene refers to an environment and daily routine that help promote consistent, uninterrupted, and high-quality sleep. 
Performing the same nightly activities signals to our body that it’s time to rest, resulting in us falling asleep faster. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and aim for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.
Try to avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea, and soda, in the afternoon and evening, and try limiting or cutting out alcohol and nicotine before bed.
Make sure that your bedroom is quiet, at a comfortable temperature, and dark enough.

Make sure you only get into bed when actually going to sleep, and try to avoid carrying out activities like studying, or watching TV lying on your bed.

#2. Power Down Before You Power Off

Using electronic devices such as our phones or TVs in the bedroom creates a highly stimulating, media-rich environment. These devices project a blue light which our eyes are very sensitive to, and night-time exposure to it can disrupt our body’s secretion of melatonin (also known as the sleep hormone), and subsequently, our overall sleep quality.  It’s highly recommended that we limit our blue light exposure at least 2 hours before we hit the hay, or try getting blue-blocking glasses to help our eyes filter these blue and green waves. 

#3. Embrace the Power of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy can be a great and relatively cheap way to help toward achieving better quality sleep. Inhaling essential oils via a diffuser or applying a few diluted drops to your skin for the body to absorb can promote better sleep through reducing stress and anxious feelings. Lavender, cypress, and chamomile essential oils have been proven to be some of the best options to consider trying. 

#4. Find Inner Serenity With Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation has numerous health benefits, particularly for those who aren’t getting sufficient sleep. Mindfulness meditation focuses on training our minds to pay attention to the present moment by focusing on our breath, while also engaging our sensations, awareness, and feelings.  It can help reduce negative thoughts and emotional reactivity, and promote objective evaluation of our daily experiences, all of which can help you become more relaxed, facilitating more peaceful sleep.

The Snowball Effect of Healthy Habits

Rather than focusing on what you won’t be able to do, focus on what you can personalize to suit your lifestyle. Remind yourself to take it step by step rather than by overwhelming yourself; start slow and small. Kickstarting your journey by swapping habits, or incorporating one tiny doable practice into your routine at a time can help make all the difference in making us more committed and empowered to adopt even newer and healthier habits! The important thing to remember is to keep an eye on what works best for you and adjust accordingly. Remember to be patient; finding a sleep routine that works for you can take time—sleep routines are not one-size-fits-all. 

Book your personalized consultation with any of Holisticly’s expert Sleep Health Specialists or Behavioral Health Specialists for a more personal insight, extra support and guidance, as well as tailored strategies.