How do you feel when you don’t get enough sleep? Your answer to that question alone is a good indicator of how sleep impacts your positivity and ability to seize the day!

Sleep is the important function our body and brain need to repair and restore. While it’s unrealistic to aim for perfection when there are disruptors that may interrupt our sleep (children anyone?), aim high by being consistent with your bedtime and rising routines.

Just like eating nutritious food, drinking clean water, and exercising regularly – getting quality sleep of seven to nine hours a night is an important component of our overall health.


Sleep benefits

When we sleep, the body rests and repairs itself. We have improved memory and cognitive thinking, because after sleep many researchers believe that the brain grows, reorganises, restructures, and makes new neural connections. This leads to better response times physically and more clarity, mentally. You think clearer, learn well and function more optimally throughout the day. Your immune system is refreshed and hormones repair tissues and cells in the body. You are more able to fight off infections!


Impact on mental health

There is also research to support sleep having a huge impact on stress relief, maintaining a healthy weight and your ability to be physically at your best. Chronic lack of sleep can lead to irritability, anxiety, and depression because the body and brain’s ability to restore and repair is cut short. Having a consistent sleep routine often resolves these symptoms, and if it does not, please seek support via your GP or a qualified counsellor or psychologist.


How to get a good night’s sleep

Seven to nine hours is a general guide of how much sleep healthy adults need to function. More sleep is needed for babies, children, and teenagers (see guide by Queensland Health here).


Here are some tips for getting a good sleep:


  1. Sleep schedule. Create a consistent sleep schedule. Waking and falling asleep around the same time each day (give or take 20 minutes) is helpful in setting the body’s own internal clock. This includes weekends. If you are fighting fatigue and need a nap, aim to keep that nap to 20 minutes or under and not late in the afternoon otherwise it could affect your sleep schedule.
  2. A quiet, dark, cool bedroom environment is key to a good sleep, as is investing in a comfortable mattress and pillow. Sometimes white noise, such as a fan or a white noise machine, can help block out other unwanted sounds.
  1. Cut stimulants. Avoid stimulants in the afternoon and night-time, such as caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine. Alcohol might make you sleepy but will affect your sleep rhythm and contribute to lower, lighter sleep quality as your body tries to rid itself of the alcohol.
  1. Exercise in the day. Exercising in the sunlight during the day is associated with better sleep quality. Just avoid it too late in the day as it can make the body more alert.
  1. Avoid screens. Avoiding screen before bed makes it easier to fall asleep. Put the phone, tablet, computer, and television to bed at least 30 minutes before it’s your turn. The blue light in these devices can interact with your body’s natural production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
  1. Wind down before bed to help transition yourself to a night of peaceful, relaxing sleep. A warm bath, reading, or listening to music are popular restful activities before bed.


We are here to help

Are you concerned about your ability to sleep, and sleep well? We are here to help understand what is making you tired and help you manage your health and wellbeing. Book an appointment with one of the experienced GPs here.


With sources:

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