Is sleep THAT important?

Sleep deprivation can have us doing some pretty strange things – like unintentionally wearing mismatched socks , trying to find your phone while texting or even putting the electric kettle on the stove (guilty!).

Studies from The National Sleep Foundation show that not getting enough quality sleep can have an impact on our day to day functioning, including our safety, which comes as no surprise that people with poor quality sleep, can be more accident prone. From new mothers to Uni students pulling all-nighters to get that assignment done in time – lack of sleep affects people from all stages of life.

In fact, studies also show that more than half of adult Australians are suffering from at least one chronic sleep symptom such as insomnia or snoring – affecting their ability to live a healthy, happy life.

Getting enough sleep each day is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing, just like hitting CNTR+ALT+DEL on our brain that has too many mental tabs open – sleeping allows our body to restore and reboot.

Dr Jennifer Schaffer, a Queensland based General Practitioner says sleep is vital for our body to repair every function and organ.

“Everyone’s sleep habits are different, and some people will need more or less sleep than others, however, between 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is recommended.”

Health and Wellbeing Queensland’s Clinical Nurse Consultant Sally Russel-Hall says the quality of our sleep is key for long term wellbeing.

“Not getting enough good quality, uninterrupted sleep can impact on every aspect of life including mental wellbeing.  It can impact factors such as mood, concentration and long-term health such as the increased risk of chronic disease like diabetes”.

Sleep and mental wellbeing

Just like planning a cross country road trip while running on an empty tank, the lack of a good night’s rest can make dealing with the demands of a busy life much more difficult. 

When we give our brain much needed down time, we become less irritable and have improved focus, concentration, creativity and are better able to process new information – this is essential for our mental wellbeing.

Catch extra Z’s to prevent disease

Next time you whisper to yourself ‘just one more episode’ remember there are a number of long-term health benefits of calling it an early night.  Getting into a good sleeping habit can not only decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes but also reduce the risk of obesity, improve immunity and reduce high blood pressure.

5 ways you can improve your sleep quality

When it comes to sleep, quality is key. Here are some simple ways to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed and energised.

1. Wind it down

Set a bedtime routine to help your body prepare for sleep.  In the hour before going to bed, set your individual relaxing routine this can include having a warm bath, reading a book or listening to relaxing music.

2. Back off on the caffeine

Along with alcohol and some medications, caffeine can impact our sleep quality – try and limit caffeine consumption especially later in the day.

3. Tech free zone

Switch off all screens 1-2 hours before bedtime and if possible, try not to have your phone in your bedroom – this will make it easier to stop the social media scroll in bed!

4. Same time, same place

Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day is essential to building a good sleep routine, find what best works for you and try to stick to it.

5. Hey there sunshine!

When you first wake up in the morning try to get some sunshine, starting your morning with a walk or stretch in the sun is a great way to get some Vitamin D and it also helps regulate your body clock.

You can find out more about the importance of sleep by watching the ‘Sleep Well’ episode of the Wellbeing Series here.