best sleep ever! HOW TO HAVE YOUR
It’s official – most of us need more shut-eye… so here’s how
Even though research shows how damaging a lack of sleep can be, a recent survey by Premier Inn found many adults are getting far less sleep each year than we did even a decade ago.
Big Health, the creators of the CBT sleep improvement app, Sleepio ( www.
sleepio.com) have released some preliminary information from the first World Sleep Survey.
They found that 46% of the British respondents struggled to concentrate; 38% to complete work; 27% found it hard to even make it through the day at work; 60% noticed an impact on energy levels and 48% on mood. 35% saw their relationships with others suffer and 28% saw an effect on physical health.
Most alarmingly, one in five respondents had fallen asleep while driving in the past year due to sleep debt.
Drs Peter Hauri and Shirley Linde, authors of No More Sleepless Nights, write that, as well as road accidents, insomnia is to blame for some air and train crashes as well as industrial accidents.
Sleep debt is the cumulative effect on our minds and bodies of not getting enough sleep. It makes it harder to deal with stress, affects immune function and leaves us more vulnerable to infections.
Many older people sleep more lightly, feeling less rested when awake. Older people also tend to be more unsettled by noise and other disturbance. This means paying closer attention to our sleep hygiene and other habits that can help us get the rest we need.
Sleep debt also has an impact on productivity and social lives. We are less likely to have the energy to go out when we’re sleep-deprived so insomnia can create a sense of loneliness.
Physiologically, the odd sleepless night doesn’t do much damage apart from making us more likely to feel low, increasing our risk of having an accident and affecting our ability to motivate ourselves to work.
Longer term, though, it’s associated with all sorts of health issues. It puts us at greater risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other chronic health issues. Even one night without enough sleep can cause a whole day of elevated blood pressure for people with hypertension. Harvard Medical School studies found that less than five hours’ sleep a night increases risk of death, from all causes, by 15%. In terms of mental health, while lack of joy and low mood are often noticeable after one night’s poor sleep (both symptoms of depression), longer term sleep deprivation can lead to mania for those with bipolar, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, paranoia and impulsive behaviour. Tolerance for alcohol is lower, too.
When we get better sleep, we see benefits. Apart from waking refreshed we’re more creative and healthy.
Improve your sleep
still awake in the small hours?