Kasey's five steps to a healthy sleep

Our City Club Fitness Centre Dietician discusses the importance of sleep and why you should make it a priority in your life.

Getting adequate sleep is as important as healthy eating and regular exercise. Australia’s leading sleep advocate Sleep Health Foundation says sleep not only boosts your mental and physical wellbeing, but also your immunity. A Deloitte Access Economics report in 2017 found 39.8% of Australians suffered from insufficient sleep. Our busy, tech-driven lifestyles are often to blame, along with too much caffeine and lack of exercise.

Why should you make sleep a priority?

Sleep helps you recharge - both physically and mentally. As you sleep, your blood sugar stabilises, your organs repair, your muscles recover from exercise and your brain stores memories. Without adequate sleep, your long-term health will be impaired. The Sleep Health Foundation says individuals vary in their sleep needs, but most adults require between 7 and 9 hours a night to feel refreshed and function well the next day. That is 7 hours of actual sleep time and not just 7 hours in bed. There is a difference.

blue cushions on white bed

How to improve your sleep:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This includes weekends and the nights you have broken sleep. The current period of self-isolation is a useful time to establish a new pattern. Work out a bedtime schedule and set your alarm to wake up at the same time every day.
  • Lower your exposure to light an hour before bedtime. If you want to read, use blue-light blocking bulbs in your lamps. Either dim or change the light setting on your digital device to the warmer end of the colour spectrum or turn it off completely. Sleep with the curtains closed.
  • Keep the temperature of your bedroom cool and avoid overheating yourself with too many blankets or bed clothes.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping and it’s making you stressed, get out of bed and do something relaxing, such as reading for 15 minutes or concentrate on some breathing exercises until you feel sleepy and then go back to bed.
  • Monitor your caffeine and alcohol intake. You may fall asleep without any trouble after having caffeine and/or alcohol at night, but the quality of your sleep will be affected. Anecdotally, many people have commented that their coffee and alcohol consumption has increased during lockdown. It’s a good time to swap the afternoon coffee with herbal tea and the evening wine with mineral water.

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