In between long commutes, work emails to catch up on and family gatherings, life can get busy. With everything going on, it can sometimes feel near impossible to get a good night's sleep.
If you've ever missed out on your valuable seven hours, you already know how you'll feel the next day. The tiredness, crankiness, and lack of focus kicks in almost immediately. Often overlooked, consistent high-quality sleep is crucial for good health. We know that we need to get into bed, relax and drift off to the land of nod before waking up ready to take on the day. But, sometimes that's easier said than done.
In this post, we show you why you need to be clocking those deep sleep hours and scientifically-proven ways to sleep better at night.
Why Is Sleep So Important For Your Health?
We all know that sleep is important but, why? A good night's sleep is as essential as healthy eating and regular exercise. Unfortunately, people are sleeping less than they used to and the quality of sleep has also decreased. According to Statistics Canada, one in three Canadians aren't hitting their recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
You've probably experienced a sleepless night at one point or another. Poor sleep affects so much more than you might think. Yes, it can be hard to concentrate and simple tasks can feel extremely difficult but, it goes further than that.
Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain and eating more calories. Short sleep duration is actually one of the biggest risk factors for obesity. An extensive review looked at both children and adults with short sleep duration. Researchers found that children and adults were 89% and 55% more likely to become overweight, respectively. A good night's sleep boosts your concentration, productivity and immune function. Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair the immune system. One large two-week study found that those who slept less than seven hours a night were three times as likely to develop a cold.
Interrupted and poor sleep can also play a role in the following:
- Increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke
- Impact athletic performance
- Increase inflammation
- Affect social interactions and emotions
Why Are You Not Sleeping Well?There could be a ton of reasons why you're not sleeping well. You may already even know the culprits, 5 PM coffee-lovers, I'm looking at you. If you think you may suffer from a sleep condition, rule that out first. Then start addressing other factors that you have control over.
Late CaffeineWe all know a bedtime cup of coffee is a bad idea. Caffeine has a half-life of five hours. This means that after this time only half the caffeine has been eliminated from your body. So, half of the caffeine is still lingering in your body when you're trying to dose off into a deep sleep. Try to keep your consumption below 400 mg per day and avoid caffeine after lunchtime.
ElectronicsWhether it's the television, your phone or laptop, too much screen time before bed can impact your sleep quality. The blue light that's emitted by screens suppresses the production of the hormone, melatonin. This is the hormone that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. It's not just your phone and a cup of coffee that's to blame, here are eight reasons why you might be struggling to sleep:
- Stress and worry
- Poor diet
- Lack of regular exercise
- Heavy meal before bed
- Wrong room temperature
- Nighttime exercise
- Alcohol before bed