The Importance Of A Good Night’s Sleep

How many hours of sleep are you getting each night?

It’s something we all need, but rarely ever get enough of. In this day and age, it seems like sleeping has taken a back seat in our lives as we continue to glorify busy and bustling lifestyles that carry on into the late hours of the night. We tend to brag about how little sleep we do get rather than praising a solid seven hours of uninterrupted REM.

How often have you woke up in a bad mood after a night of tossing and turning? It’s no secret that sleep plays an important role in good physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling irritable and exhausted in the short-term, but it can also have serious long-term health consequences as well. And, if you’re predisposed to anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, or other mental health conditions, in and out sleep all night could make your symptoms worse.

Sleep is an essential function that allows your body - and mind- to recharge. Without it, your body cannot function at its highest potential, leading to low performance in daily activities, reduced concentration, imbalanced appetites, and mental and physical exhaustion.

There are many factors which can affect sleeping patterns - busy work schedules, stress, anxiety, a disruptive bedroom environment, medical conditions, and so on. If you are dealing with sleep disorders, there are a number of resources and tips to assist you. For example, participating in a sleep study based on your doctor's recommendations can help you get to the bottom of your sleeping issues and get a head start on how to address them. For those struggling with anxiety or depression, we encourage you to reach out to a medical practitioner,  therapist or even try meditation as a way to calm down your mind. Resources such as TalkspaceCalm, and Headspace are great resources to assist with your mental health and get your sleep schedule back on track.

How much sleep should you be getting each night? For most adults, at least seven hours of sleep each night is needed for proper cognitive and behavioral functions. Ideally, try to aim for between 7-9 hours sleep each night. 

Taking care of sleep problems could be the key to making moods more stable. So, how can you get a better night’s sleep? Try these tips to help lessen those sleepless nights and those grumpy, anxious days.

  • Don't oversleep. As tempting as it can be to hit the snooze button on your alarm, it can be just as negatively impacting if you oversleep. Try to create a routine where you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning - yes, even on weekends!

  • Have a warm bath or shower if you feel restless at night. The warm water can help relax your muscles and help wash away any stresses or worries of the day.

  • Avoid stimulants in the afternoon and night. Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee or energy drinks after 3pm is not recommended.

  • Don't take naps after 3 p.m, and don't nap longer than 20 minutes.
  • Relax your mind for at least 30 minutes before you try to fall asleep - try reading, journaling, decluttering your mind, meditating, or breath work.

  • Get regular exercise, but not within 2-3 hours of bedtime.

  • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, do something calming until you feel sleepy, like reading or listening to soft music.

  • Set up a good environment for sleep with a comfortable temperature minus the television, mobile phone or any disturbing noises.

  • Reduce blue light exposure in the evenings. Limit social media and avoid your TV, phone, laptop, any electronic device for at least 2 hours before bed. 

In the end, sleep can be seen as the action that keeps your body running at its fullest potential, and it should not be taken lightly. So try and get plenty of it!

We’d love to know in the comments below - how many hours of sleep do you get a night? 

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