Sleep Health

Improve your health with sleep

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Most people only think of diet and exercise when trying to improve their health. With calories and kilojoules, carbs and proteins, stretching and ice baths, plus cardio and leg day to keep track of, it’s no wonder why many us won’t give sleep a second thought. 

But it still leaves ResMed’s sleep health expert, Dr Carmel Harrington completely astonished.

“I’m constantly amazed at the seemingly little importance people give to sleep. Research shows that sleep is fundamental to our good physical and mental health and is critical for optimal performance and wellbeing,” she says. 

What’s more, when you improve your sleep, you’ll find that your nutrition and exercise will naturally benefit too.

Did you know that people who get less than 5 hours sleep are more likely to have a snack and drink alcohol, or that those who get adequate sleep have more energy and stamina, and better workouts?

It’s crazy how much we obsess with health these days yet neglect sleep, especially when it makes up one-third of our lives. 

To improve your health, forget diet and exercise. Stay in bed, and try sleep first. The following five tips will help:

  • Stick to a strict bedtime and rise time routine

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will help you regulate your body clock and metabolism. Once you create a healthy habit, your body will know when to sleep and when to get up. 

  • Invest in a quality bed and good bedding

You spend a third of your life in bed, so make sure you own a quality mattress and pillows that support the way you sleep. You’ll also need to have decent bedding to keep you warm and comfortable throughout the night.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime

Alcohol affects your sleep quality by causing fragmented sleep, while caffeine can alter your sleep drive and delay the timing of your natural body clock, causing you to stay awake at night.

  • Don’t look at screens or check social media before bed

Many of us will choose to relax at night by watching TV or browsing the Internet on our laptop or smart devices. A little screen time is okay, but these screens do emit blue light, which can disrupt our natural sleep cycles by impacting the release of melatonin, a sleep hormone.

  • Set a relaxing routine before bedtime

Spend at least 20 minutes before bed to wind down with soothing music, meditation or light activity. This can help you reduce physical tension and mental stress, setting your body and mind up for a better night’s rest.

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ResMed

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