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Health and Wellbeing - September 2017

31 Aug 2017


Sleep and your wellbeing

By Erin Burns

Lack of good quality sleep has been linked to poor dietary choices.

Research has shown people who do not get enough sleep have an increased tendency to choose foods high in fats and sugars. They are also more likely to have a high intake and reliance on caffeine.

These nutritional choices add to the cycle of increased fatigue and poor sleep quality, which, in turn, add to a compromised immune system and a reduction in wellbeing and overall health.

Research has also shown poor quality sleep accelerates the skins ageing process from free radical damage.

Waking up tired is common. But it is not normal.

Sleep’s purpose is repair and restoration. When this is compromised, daily tasks can become difficult. With great sleep, memory, cognition, immune and digestive function work better.

The benefits of restorative sleep include improved mood, physical and emotional resilience, and better hormonal function.

Therefore, great sleep will ensure you’re feeling your best and will lead to better long-term choices for your overall wellbeing and quality of life.

Duration of sleep varies depending on life stages, and is based on gender, age and physical demands. Research suggests for the average adult seven to eight and a half hours of good quality sleep is ideal. During this time of rest and restoration, cellular repair takes place.

Unfortunately, in today’s world there are many external demands and stresses which stop us from switching off to get a good night’s sleep. If you are going to bed after 10pm, getting less than seven hours sleep, or waking up during the night, your sleep is being compromised.

There are certain aspects to life, which are unavoidable in getting a full eight and a half hours of great sleep.

This includes having small children who are dependent on you. If this is the stage of life you are in, accept this is for now, be gentle on yourself and rest wherever the day allows you to.

Times of grief and high stress also wreak havoc on your sleep cycles, so being gentle with yourself, and seek support from health practitioners to assist you.

If you are feeling at your optimum and mentally focused, you are more inclined to make better health choices surrounding your nutrition and physical health.

The following lifestyle choices, may assist you to a better night’s sleep:

  • Practicing mindful eating;
  • Eating a well-balanced diet;
  • Optimum hydration;
  • Meditation;
  • A bedtime routine;
  • A morning routine;
  • Physical exercise;
  • Decreased caffeine consumption; and
  • Eliminating stressors in your life.

Switching off all backlit devices and stimulating devices such as the TV an hour prior to bedtime

Increasing your quality of Zs at night is often multifactorial and seeing a health practitioner with a holistic approach, may benefit you and your long-term health.

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