Here comes Autumn! As the first cooler evenings and cooler breezes signal that autumn is in the wings, what can you do to be in the best possible shape as sashays in?
Get more sleep
For a lot of people, the cooler nights are a relief due to not being able to sleep because of the heat or just generally. It’s amazing how many of us struggle to sleep when we finally hit the sack and what a big impact it has on our experience of the day.
The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School has gone to great lengths to fully understand the benefits of sleep and the critical role it plays in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. As a society, they strongly advocate the need to stop burning the candle at both ends and re-think how we prioritise getting enough sleep because it is one of the basic building blocks of good health along with eating well and exercise.
We need seven to eight hours, but most of us don’t get that much. There is a significant link between how well someone sleeps and their overall health and function. Chronic sleep deprivation is a significant contributor to not only hypertension and heart disease, but also diabetes and may also have an effect on obesity and weight gain. And that’s not even touching on our psychological and emotional state.
Chronic sleep deprivation is a well reported risk factor in a wide range of psychological disorders. Without the required of number of z’s we simply don’t view the world the same way we normally would and don’t function well.
Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, reported that ‘The Great British Sleep Survey’ published last year found that poor sleepers are seven times more likely to feel helpless and five times more likely to feel alone – consequences that can affect everything from our relationships to our productivity.
The good news is that sleep is a very simple way we can all significantly improve the quality of our lives – and getting more of it can often be accomplished simply for no extra cost. Doing things like removing all screens from the bedroom, switching off the TV earlier, not checking emails before we go to bed, not working too late and allowing ourselves some wind-down time at the end of the day, by reducing or eliminating our coffee intake and sleep persists in remaining elusive, drinking warm milk, camomile or calming herb teas before we go to bed can all help usher in the Sandman.
Now that the weather is changing and cooler evenings are beginning to arrive, hopefully we will all sleep better, but if not there are also new vitamins and mineral mixes that have also come on to the market to try before resorting to sleeping pills. If they don’t work, your GP may have a suggestion or prescribe sleeping pills to break a sleepless cycle. The important thing is not to put up with being sleepless but to address it and if it goes on for too long to seek help.
To see more on Harvard’s research on sleep.