Why is it important to get a good night’s sleep
During sleep your body gets the necessary time to restore itself. This time of rest and recuperation gives you the energy you need for the next day. Sleep ensures muscle growth, recovery, supports your immune system preventing illness and also allows you to form memories and process information from the previous day.
Not having this valuable time for restoration, can lead to increased aches and pains, lack of energy, fatigue, loss of coordination and make you more susceptible to illness. Not getting enough sleep can also cause you to eat more and gain weight, as without sleep your body decreases the production of a hormone that indicates fullness and increases production of an appetite-inducing hormone. Additionally when you are more tired you require more sustenance to make it through the day.
Having good quality sleep not only allows for your physical health to improve but also supports your mental health. Sleep is essential for various aspects of brain function, this includes cognition, productivity and concentration. Having a good night's sleep can maximise problem-solving skills and enhance memory. Whereas on the other hand, a poor night’s sleep can make you drowsy, makes it very hard to concentrate and can even affect your ability to interact socially.
What affects sleep?
There are so many different factors that affect sleep, ranging from the environment in which you are winding down in, to the food and drink you have consumed over that day.Common causes of bad-quality sleep are:
Caffeine - consuming caffeine (even in tea!) can lead to disrupted sleep.- Smoking - nicotine is a stimulant which can make it harder for smokers to get some rest.
Not enough food - food deprivation can cause wakefulness.
Light - if you are struggling to fall asleep, making sure to have a dark space in which to fall asleep can be really important.
Screens - whether your phone or your laptop, the blue light given off my screens stimulates your brain and can make it harder to get quality sleep.
Temperature - if you are in a hot or stuffy room it will be harder to sleep, try and create a cool well ventilated environment.
Jetlag - a change to your body clock can disturb our sleep timings, reducing the quality of our sleep until our bodies adjust.
Anxiety & Stress - our bodies are built so that we can stay awake when we feel there may be impending danger, this means that when we are feeling stressed or anxious we often find ourselves lying awake at night.
In particular anxiety and stress is commonly cited as the reason for a bad night’s sleep. Especially after the events of the last year. TRIP carried out a sleep survey earlier this year including 1000 Brits and found that 2020 was the year that the UK slept worse than ever, due to the fact that 7 out of 10 people had the most stressful year of their lives! With 85% of people cited that the stress of lockdown had negatively affected their sleeping patterns.