Sleep plays a key role in maintaining one’s health. In fact, it’s equally important as diet and exercise — but unfortunately, it’s often overlooked. Almost 60% of Australians report experiencing one symptom of poor sleep at least thrice a week. Aside from the consequence on health and wellbeing, poor sleep also costs the economy billions in productivity losses. Here are 10 reasons why it’s crucial to improve the length and quality of your sleep.
1) Lower Risk of Accidents
According to one study, a lack of shut-eye is linked to more than 3,000 deaths in Australia annually. When someone is sleep-deprived, their brain’s reaction time slows down and prevents them from being alert. Not getting enough sleep can make you more likely to get into a driving or industrial accident.
2) Better Memory and Focus
Have you ever experienced your memory going really foggy? It’s possible that a lack of sleep is the culprit. Without sleep, we have trouble focusing and remembering details because the brain doesn’t get enough time to store memories. Sleep allows your brain to process new information and prepare you for what’s coming next.
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3) Increased Productivity
It may seem like pulling an all-nighter is the more productive option, but not getting eight hours of rest can actually lead to more mistakes. Sleep allows your body to perform its housekeeping functions, like removing the toxins in your brain, which build-up when you’re awake, thus ensuring that you’re refreshed for the day ahead.
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4) Improved Exercise Quality
Our bodies heal when we’re asleep, so not getting enough rest robs you of energy and time for muscle repair. You may have slower reaction times, lagging hand-eye coordination, or less motivation to exercise — which makes it mentally and physically difficult to become active.
5) Stronger Heart
Around 5.6% of Australians have a condition related to cardiovascular disease. Not getting enough sleep can lead to severe heart health problems, because sleep lets your blood pressure go down. When you sleep, your heart and blood vessels get the opportunity to rest and regulate themselves.
6) Weight Gain Prevention
A well-rested person is a less hungry person. Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on the hormones that control appetite, so you’re more likely to indulge in junk food cravings when you lack sleep. And because you’re so tired, you won’t have any energy to exercise — which can definitely add extra kilos to your weight.
7) Immune System Boost
Your immune system wards off illnesses by identifying and destroying the harmful bacteria and viruses that attack the body. However, a lack of sleep can prevent your immune cells from recovering sufficiently; they may not attack as quickly, so you might get sick more often.
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8) Controlled Moods
When you sleep, your brain is busy processing your emotions. Cutting your sleep short can lead to more negative emotional reactions than positive ones; a lack of sleep also raises the chances of having a mood disorder. In fact, insomnia is linked to depression, anxiety, and poor mental health.
9) Blood Sugar Regulation
Restorative sleep can promote healthy blood sugar control. When we’re asleep, our blood sugar levels surge. In response, the insulin in the body handles it by instructing the cells to absorb the glucose from the blood. Sleep deprivation can increase insulin resistance and cause blood sugar levels to rise.
10) Lower Likelihood of Inflammation
Sleep loss can activate markers of inflammation and cell damage in the body. Sleep deprivation can trigger an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract or promote disease recurrence.
3 Tips for Better Sleep
1) Establish a sleep routine
For better sleep, you have to train your brain and body to recognise that it’s bedtime with some cues. You can take a warm bath, read a book, or listen to soft music to relax yourself. Switch off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed because screens can confuse the body clock and overstimulate the brain.
2) Keep work and sleep zones separate
Hybrid work arrangements can blur the line between rest and productivity, so it’s important to set up a workspace separate from your bedroom. In your home office, you can invest in ergonomic accessories like wrist rests and monitor stands to support your body. This can help you sleep without aches and pains. In your sleep zone, minimise sources of light and sound, while keeping the area cool and comfy. White noise can help you to mask any unwelcome sounds that can interrupt your sleep cycle.
3) Plan your sleep schedule
Having a fixed bedtime can help you plan out your day for a good night’s rest. Count eight hours backward from your ideal wake-up time and make sure to sleep at this hour. Limit daytime naps and your intake of caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol to improve sleep quality.
The bottom line: Invest in quality sleep. Our sleep solutions can help you get enough rest to keep you healthy and happy. Contact us today to learn more about our products.
Article was specially written for www.sleepandsound.com.au by Amber Glover