We hear a lot about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, yet unfortunately so few of us get enough decent sleep to operate at our optimum level, particularly if you have young children, and particularly during the trying times of lockdown.
A lack of sleep in our children can be incredibly impactful, as you've no doubt encountered the grumpy and agitated state of your child at one point or another, but whining notwithstanding--it’s exactly the same for us adults.
For many folks, a lack of sleep could mean a morning full of brain fog and crankiness. How do you feel after a lousy night’s sleep? Do you not find your fuse is a little shorter, your patience wearing thinner, and you simply lack the energy to accomplish all the things that you need to?
The Hidden Dangers of Not Getting Enough Sleep
It can be difficult to get a completely restful night’s sleep as it is, but when you have additional factors such as young children, or even worse, an infestation of nocturnal pests that you can hear scratching around in the roof or wall cavity (in which case you need to call in Blue Chip Pest Control) to take care of that situation.
Yet, even if you have the optimum conditions for a good night’s sleep, with the stressful and busy lifestyles many of us have today, we are so busy cramming as much into the day as possible, that we end up feeling over stimulated yet at the same time totally worn out.
Have you heard the term ‘over tired’, which is when someone gets past the point of being able to sleep as they are too stimulated.
There are, of course, plenty of things we can do to ensure we get enough sleep though, such as to sleep on a comfortable mattress in a well ventilated, preferably dark room, which is quiet and with soft bed linen that isn’t too hot in the summer; as one of the things that prevent us from sleeping is that feeling of being too hot and clammy in the middle of the night.
There are, of course, factors that are out of our control such as if our partner snores, suffers from night sweats, or sleep talks. Whilst sharing your bed can be a very harmonious experience, and one of the nicest feelings in life, sometimes it can unfortunately get in the way of our ability to get a good night’s sleep.
If you are struggling to sleep you might want to try a natural sleep aid tablet, or an aromatherapy oil such as lavender that can help induce sleep… but if you’re really struggling to sleep, you might want to consider something more pharmaceutical such as Nytol, which seems to work for most people, but if you have true insomnia, it might be necessary to go to the doctors and take stronger tablets available only on prescription.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
Sleep plays a vital role in us having good health and well-being.
Ensuring you get enough quality sleep, meaning deep sleep rather than light sleep, will help optimise your physical health and energy in addition to your quality of life and mental health, as the way you feel throughout the day is often affected by how much sleep you get at night.
If you’ve ever suffered from a hangover, then you’ll know the effects are often linked with a lack of hydration, but have you ever noticed that a lack of sleep can cause these same physical symptoms too. The headache, sensitivity to light and grogginess - the impaired mental function and ability to think as sharply as you normally do?
See, when you’re drunk your body doesn’t tend to be able to get into the deep phase of sleep required for our bodies to replenish and rejuvenate, so perhaps the hangover is more to do with a lack of quality sleep than anything else?
Indeed, often when we don’t get enough sleep we are pretty useless, or at least less efficient in the day ahead, and this can be a real problem. It’s a particular issue for parents, as a lack of sleep will often result in reduced patience and it’s at times like this, we occasionally see parents explode at their children when being bombarded with requests.
In this article there’s a lot of focus on the quantity of sleep, but that’s not the only factor, indeed, quality is perhaps even more important than quantity.
At night, your mind rests, but there’s a lot of behind the scenes work taking place within your very intelligent body; akin to how a phone needs charging fully so it can keep its charge throughout the next day, we need the same.
The potential danger caused by sleep deficiency is serious. It it makes us less aware, clumsy and distracted which is particularly dangerous if driving a car. Indeed, those people that are so exhausted they fall asleep for just a few seconds behind the wheel, can very easily end up in a disastrous crash.
Then, there are the cumulative effects not having enough sleep has on the body, which of course compound over time, and puts stress on vital organs leading to chronic illnesses.
Sleep & Mental Health
Sleep is one of the most vital components that will help your brain function properly.
When you're sleeping, your brain gets chance to rest, yet whilst resting, it’s also preparing for the next day and processing what it has learned by forming new neural pathways.
Several studies have shown just how impactful a good night's sleep is on improving learning.
In fact, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most recommended things you can do prior to an exam.
In contrast, if you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisive decisions, solving problems, and controlling your emotions. Further to this, a lack of sleep has been linked with a further incidence of depression and anxiety related conditions.
Sleep & Physical Health
Sleep clearly plays an important role in our physical health, as sleep is when the body gets chance to replenish and repair all cells within the body; this is why it’s important to get deep enough sleep for the body to release the hormones required for growth and repair.
Getting plenty of sleep is particularly important for young people, as this will help their growth and development - whilst sleep deprivation has been known to stunt growth.
Also, our immune system is greatly affected by the amount of sleep we get, therefore, a continued lack of sleep will lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness.
In summary, creating the right environment for a good night’s sleep is incredibly important to your family’s mental, emotional and physical health.
What are some things that you do to ensure you get a good night's sleep? Let me know in the comments below!