Mental Health

Sleep Like a Baby

By April 28, 2014 No Comments

If you’ve been a student for a while, you won’t be surprised to find out that when we’re not getting enough sleep, we don’t function so well.  Although scientists have yet to provide a definitive answer for why we need to sleep, it’s clear that getting enough sleep is critical to our health.  These are some of the theories so far:

  • Our body needs downtime to repair and re-energise itself.  It literally performs an internal ‘tune-up’ while we are sleeping.
  • Our brain ‘cleans house’ while we sleep, taking the opportunity to get rid of most of the by-products generated by our daily mental functions.
  • The process of dreaming allows us to subconsciously process our day and whatever is going on in our life.
  • When we don’t get enough sleep:
    • The body produces extra stress hormones, so we’re more prone to stress.
    • We lose physical co-ordination and agility.
    • We can’t think clearly.
    • Our level of creativity is reduced.

All good reasons to get a good night’s sleep!

Of course it’s also possible to get too much sleep, which isn’t healthy either.  Most people need around eight hours a night with some people needing a bit more or a bit less, so experiment to find what works best for you.

Here are some ideas to improve the quality of your sleep:

  • Turn off the TV or your computer at least an hour before bed so your brain can start to wind down.
  • Have a ritual that you follow e.g. have a bath, brush your teeth, get a glass of water and switch over to the bedside lights.  This trains your body to prepare for sleep as soon as you start that process.
  • Make a note of anything that’s on your mind so you don’t worry about forgetting it.
  • Breathe deeply and imagine you are breathing out all the worries of your day.
  • If you read before turning out the light, make sure it’s not something that will get your mind racing.
  • Sprinkle a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow or in your bath.

Sleep tight!

photo credit: Sarah G… via photopin cc

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