Sleep like good breathing (more about that later) is a fundemantal aspect for good health and wellbeing. Of course you know this already but according to the statistics many of us aren’t doing a great job of getting it.
According to professional research institutions* the average adult between 18 and 65 needs between seven and nine hours a day with this changing over time. While new YouGov data shows that;
- 32% of Australians aren’t getting the recommended hours of sleep
- 85% of us wake up at least once - good to know I’m not alone men seem to sleep better than women, and interestingly
- those who slept with a ‘comfort object’ (8% of adults over 45) slept better than those who didn’t, now thats food for thought.
So whats the big deal about sleep anyway? Well if you’re anything like me you care about ageing - not just the dreaded wrinkly kind but cellular and mental ageing.
Poor sleeping habits and exposure to blue light lead to a decline in melatonin the body’s own ‘Mr Sandman’ sleep hormone, a powerful neuroprotectant which supports physical and mental health. Ignoring or changing your natural circadian rhythm has wide ranging impacts and has been associated with;
- cognitive and mental decline
- decreased immune system function
- decreased stress resilience
- decreased testosterone levels in men
- poor heart health
To give you an idea of how sensitive our bodies are just one night of sleep deprivation increases the accumulation of proteins (β-amyloid) in the brain which are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
So what are some simple ways to optimise sleep?
- go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday. Routine is key to managing sleep hormones
- go for a walk in the morning or evening without sunglasses to regulate melatonin production, and wear blue light blocking glasses, or change your settings if you’re using devices in the evening
- minimise caffeine, alcohol and sugar whenever possible, these lead to light and disrupted sleep. The quality of your sleep matters.
- your bedroom is a sanctuary, a nice quiet, dark room with comfortable bedding with good temperature control is key the ideal temperate should be between 15.6 and 20 degrees.
- Keeping a window or door open to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide.
- Minimise your exposure to lights after sundown. Blue light in artificial lights disrupt melatonin. I use BlueBlockLight lamps throughout the house to ease me into the evening.
- consider some Ayurvedic sleep support - like this calming Ashwagandha Moon Brew
- wind down before bed with a relaxing meditation