Those close to me know how important sleep is to my happiness and wellbeing. Sleep is not laziness, it is vital for quality of life.
Over the years I’ve learnt that my optimum amount of sleep is between 8 to 10 hours, I used to think that this was well above average but have learnt through my participation in this campaign that 8 hours is in fact natures optimum amount of sleep and anything below 6 hours can leave us chronically sleep deprived.
When Bed Guru, the sleep specialists, approached me and asked me to take part in their Choose Sleep Campaign, to help educate people about the importance of a good night’s sleep and the sleep epidemic we are currently facing, I jumped at the chance to write about a topic I was personally passionate about.
Sleep to me is a time to recharge. It’s a time for my body to heal, my mind to switch off and my spirit to rekindle. Without enough sleep I feel physically ill, irritable and depressed which is why it is such a priority in my life.
To see the scale of our current sleep epidemic and why Bed Guru has launched their Choose Sleep Campaign watch the short video below.
This video raises some very interesting points about our society. We are turning our backs on sleep in an attempt to stay awake for longer, living fast and punishing our bodies in the process. Our natural cycles are interrupted by artificial lighting and the presence of technology which combined with the world’s caffeine addiction and negative portrayal of sleep are leaving us more prone to every major disease in the modern world.
It’s time to start looking at sleep in a different light, as the wondrous medicine it really is. Sleep helps you live longer, fight illness, be happier and look better. Sleep literally revitalises the human mind enabling us to think deeper and unleash more creativity.
Sleep should be nurtured and perfected to the same degree as other areas of our lives. We should be investing more in our beds, our bedtime routines and our sleep environments to make sure this time is the best quality it can be.
Here are a couple of things I like to do to help me get the best night’s sleep:
Use a blue light filter
The blue light emitted by electronic devices tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime, interrupting our sleep cycle. The absolute best way to avoid this is to turn off all electronic devices at least a couple of hours before bed, but for many, including myself, this is a struggle with so much of my leisure time activities encased in my laptop or phone. To compromise I use a blue light filter on both my phone and my laptop which come on automatically as the sun sets and disable again as it rises. I use f.lux for my desktop and the blue light filter already built into my phone, though other apps are available.
Invest in your bed
If the optimum amount of sleep is 8 hours then you will spend a third of your life in bed. If you spent that amount of time on the sofa or in your car you’d probably try to make it the nicest environment you could afford. So don’t go scrimping on your bed. Mattresses are not one size fits all, so find the mattress that suits your body but don’t stop there. I for one find that my bedroom environment has a huge impact on my sleep quality, I like a clean, bright space with plants and quality bedding, an environment that makes me excited to get into bed every night.
Create a routine
My sleep routine is now so structured that I naturally wake up at 7am without the need for an alarm. Every day. On the dot. I still set an alarm as a backup, of course, but I can’t remember the last time I woke up to it. Routine is so important for our bodies, and we thrive when our internal body clock gets into a routine. Having a set bedtime and wake up time that you stick to will dramatically improve the quality of your sleep.
The question is, do you choose sleep?