This blog has been written by Nikki Fischr, Personal Trainer and Admin Manager here at Unique Results.
I have always felt I was a good sleeper and was pretty much tucked up in bed for 10pm every night, waking at 6am to get ready for work. I would definitely say I am a morning person and feel most productive at this time. I’m one of those that jump out of bed, wide awake. However, about 18 months ago my body and hormones started on the menopause journey and my sleep was impacted greatly. From not being able to get comfy, suddenly waking at 3am and hot flushes, I started to feel the impact of not getting enough, good quality sleep. Most adults should be getting between 7-9 hours sleep every night. I was previously averaging 8 hours per night but this dropped to more like 6-7 hours and I was feeling the effects during the day.
Where I was a morning person, mornings became harder and I would get up yawning and not feeling refreshed. I would fall asleep in the afternoon, not have any energy or willingness to train and would be wanting to eat all the time. Lack of sleep and sleep deprivation affects people in many different ways which can then impact daily life and work. Some examples are:
- Short temper
- Feeling irritable
- Difficulty to concentrate
- Struggle making decisions
- Feeling low/depressed
- Feeling emotional
- Falling asleep outside of your usual bedtime
- Over eating
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is important for a number of reasons. It affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body – from the brain, heart, and lungs to metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance. Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.
Sleep is an important part of your daily routine—you spend about one-third of your time doing it so if you feel your sleep is poor spend some time improving it. Quality sleep – and getting enough of it at the right times — is as essential to survival as food and water.
There are many different reasons for poor sleep and the purpose of writing this blog is to provide you with some hints and tips to help you improve your sleep. Here are some to try:
(Resourced from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/ and https://www.nhs.uk/).
- Set yourself a schedule – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Even set an alarm for when you need to go to bed. Or even better – 1 hour before bedtime so that you can start to relax and prepare for bed.
- Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before going to bed
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day and alcoholic drinks before bed.
- Relax before bed. Create a bedtime routine – try a warm bath, reading, listening to gentle hypnotic music, gentle yoga stretches.
- If you have a busy/ stressful work life write notes and to-do-lists for the next day to try and clear your mind of any distractions.
- Create a room for sleep – avoid bright lights and loud sounds, keep the room at a comfortable temperature (between 18c and 24c), and don’t watch TV or have a computer in your bedroom.
- Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t get to sleep, do something else, like reading or listening to music, until you feel tired.
- Keep a sleep diary, it may uncover lifestyle habits or daily activities that contribute to your sleeplessness. If you see your GP or a sleep expert they will probably ask you to keep a sleep diary to help them diagnose your sleep problems.
I hope some of these will work for you but if not, please seek help from a Doctor or GP.