In light of World Sleep Day on Friday 18th March, we are highlighting the benefits of getting a good quality night’s sleep for our mental and physical health. As private doctors, we know full well the importance of sleep; not only can it cause day-to-day fatigue, but it can also result in more adverse symptoms such as heart palpitations and decreased immune function.
In our hyperconnected, switched-on world, we’re surrounded by screens – whether that’s spending all day in front of a computer screen or staying up late to send emails, relaxing in front of the TV or scrolling social media on our phones, the constant light given off by screens has affected how well we sleep at night. More recently, the number of people working from home has massively increased and, for many, so has stress levels, making it more difficult to switch off in the evenings to rest.
The Side Effects of Bad Sleep
As experienced private doctors, we advise getting between seven and eight hours of good, uninterrupted sleep per night. However, we realise that sometimes, this can be difficult. If you’ve had a lack of sleep, you may find that you experience a low mood the next day. We’ve all experienced this from time to time and, as long as it’s just a one-off here and there, it isn’t anything to be concerned about.
Long-term sleep deprivation, however, can have more severe effects on our health. Low quality, interrupted sleep over a long period of time can contribute to developing more serious medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and infertility (as fewer reproductive hormones are secreted). Lack of focus, behavioural changes and depression can also be linked to long-term sleep deprivation. If you’ve had months of deprived sleep, you can expect recovery to take several weeks.
Tips for Better Sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life! We advise you to slowly increase the number of hours you sleep per night, starting with just 1 or 2 hours, over the weekend. Go to bed when you’re tired, and wake up naturally, without an alarm. You may find that, at first, you could sleep for up to 10 hours a night. However, after following the below steps over time, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease to a normal level.
- Don’t rely on caffeinated drinks as energy boosts during the day; these may improve your concentration in the short-term, but can disrupt your sleep pattern more in the long-term.
- Implement a bedtime routine to help you wind down; this programmes the brain to get used to a set routine.
- Try relaxation techniques such as taking a warm bath before bedtime, doing light yoga stretches or reading a book.
- Avoid looking at screens for at least an hour before you go to bed.
- Write a to-do list for the next day, to avoid stress and distractions.
- Listen to meditation podcasts to help calm the mind before sleep – Headspace is a great app to use.
Finding out what works for you may take some time. It’s important to be patient with yourself and take the time to listen to your body.
The Benefits of Good Sleep
There are many benefits of getting a good night’s sleep; as private doctors, we’ve highlighted just a few of the positive impacts sleep has on our health below:
Good sleep can:
- Boost your immune system
- Improve your mood
- Increase productivity
- Help to maintain a healthy weight
- Keep your heart healthy
- Improve concentration
- Reduce stress levels
If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough quality sleep, or you think it might be affecting your health, do get in touch with our private doctors. We can advise on the best resolution for you and guide you through all the options. If you’re not a member of Linbury Doctors, visit our memberships page to discover all the benefits of joining, or contact us here to find out more.