Getting better sleep can improve your health and support exercise benefits
By Nick, Blue Wave's Level-2 Live Better Advisor
You can be exercising regularly and eating well, but if you're not getting enough quality sleep, then your recovery, physical performance, health and quality of life could be compromised. So why is sleep so important? Studies have shown a number of correlations between poor sleep and a range of disorders including hypertension, obesity, type-2 diabetes, impaired immune functioning, cardiovascular disease and arrhythmias, mood disorders, neurodegeneration and dementia (1).
In view of this, what steps can you take to ensure you're giving your mind and body the opportunity they need to rest and recover?
1. Get Enough Sleep
When sleep drops below seven hours, and especially when it starts to move toward six and half hours or less, a number of different disorders begin to show up. Aim for a minimum of 7 hours every night, ideally more (2).
2. Limit electronic devices
Use of electronic devices such as phones, televisions, tablets and computers before bed, have been shown to significantly reduce the quality of sleep (3). The National Sleep Foundation recommends to stop using these at least 30 minutes before bed. Instead, try reading a book or writing a list of everything you need to get done the following day.
If you can, try and go to bed and get up at roughly the same time daily. Regularity regarding sleep patterns has been associated with a number of positive health benefits (4).
4. Turn off the lights
Exposure to room lights before bed has been shown to supress the release of melatonin - a hormone essentially released by the brain to assist with sleep (5). As well as parking the electronic devices, try winding down in a very dimly lit room and avoid any harsh lighting.