SHAPING UP: Why a good night’s sleep is so important

A good night's sleep is incredibly important for your health. In fact, it's just as important as eating healthy and exercising.

Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 12:00 am
Updated Saturday, 10th October 2020, 12:05 pm
Sleep is important to good health and fitness.

Unfortunately, most people don't get enough quality sleep. So, I've listed some of the reasons why it's so important to get a good night's kip... plus 15 things you can do to improve your sleep:

Poor Sleep Can Make You Fat• Good Sleepers Tend to Eat Fewer Calories• Good Sleep Can Improve Concentration and Productivity• Good Sleep Can Maximize Athletic Performance• Poor Sleepers Have a Greater Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke• Sleep Affects Glucose Metabolism and Type 2 Diabetes Risk• Poor Sleep Is Linked to Depression• Sleep Improves Your Immune Function• Poor Sleep Is Linked to Increased Inflammation• Sleep Affects Emotions and Social Interactions

Here's 15 ways you can a better night's sleep:

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Don't Consume Caffeine Late in the DayCaffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if large amounts are consumed in the late afternoon or evening.

Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime NapsWhile short "power naps" have been proven beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep. Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal body clock, meaning you may struggle tosleep at night.

Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent TimesBeing consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid in sleep quality in the long-term. Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle, especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day.

Don't Drink AlcoholDrinking a couple of alcoholic drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones. Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnoea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.

Optimize Your Bedroom EnvironmentTry to optimize your bedroom environment by eliminating external light and noise and making it a generally relaxing environment. Keep phones, TV's, laptops out!

Set Your Bedroom TemperatureBody and bedroom temperature can also huge impact on sleep quality. Test different temperatures to find out which is most comfortable for you. Around 20°C seems comfortable for most people.

Don't Eat Late in the EveningConsuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. However, eating carbs a few hours before bed may help.

Relax and Clear Your Mind in the EveningRelaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia.It's no coincidence that I always sleep better after my yoga class on a Monday night.

Take a Relaxing Bath or ShowerA warm bath, shower or foot bath before bed can help you relax and improve your sleep quality.

Get a Comfortable Bed, Mattress and PillowSome people wonder why they always sleep better in a hotel. Well, apart from the relaxing environment, bed quality can also have an effect. Research shows that your bed, mattress and pillow can greatly impact sleep quality and joint or back pain. Try to buy a high-quality mattress and bedding every 5–8 years.

Exercise Regularly, But Not Before BedExercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health. It can enhance all aspects of sleep, and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia.Don't Drink Any Liquids Before BedDrinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to trips to the bathroom during the night, therefore interrupting your sleep.