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All bound for morning town many miles away…..

20 Aug 2015

 

When I was a nurse it was expected that we did shift work. For many years I slept when the sun was bright and worked very hard throughout the night only to do a morning shift the next day. I was lucky I thought, I could sleep anywhere, anytime but looking back on the photos it was clear that the person attempting to smile back looked as if she needed a good long nap!  

The amount of sleep required by adults is slightly longer than 8 hours but due to a very recent study called “Sleep: A Global Perspective” it was discovered that 61% of people in the UK felt they needed seven to nine hours each night to be at their most productive. In contrast, another study investigated the risk to night shift workers operating through the small hours of the night can throw the body 'into chaos' even causing long-term damage. 

Serious business so what can happen when we don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis?

  1. Your complexion suffers because everyone needs beauty sleep. Dull looking skin, with spots and too many 'sags and bags 'may indicate you are not putting in the horizontal hours. There are a number of reasons for this. Recent research found that sleep-deprived women suffer premature skin ageing and a decrease in the skin's ability to recover after exposure to the sun - signs include fine lines, uneven pigmentation, slackening of skin and reduced elasticity.
  2. You cannot think straight. Poor sleep reduces the ability to make decisions and increases the risk of making mistakes. Sluggishness from poor sleep challenges our sharp thinking and impacts on our bid to react quickly to events and circumstances that require it. We may also suffer a loss of memory and any routine tasks involving problem solving and time management skills will become even more difficult to carry out.
  3. A lack of quality sleep can lead to stress which means the body makes more of the stress hormone, cortisol, and this will increase inflammation. Your immune system produces proteins while you sleep that help protect against infections and inflammation. Unfortunately our body cannot fight off infection if it hasn't switched off at night.
  4. You've lost your mojo. Feeling uninspired, tired, weepy and short- tempered? In order to function properly and efficiently, the brain needs us to sleep so it can reorder thought processes and assess the day's events and our experiences of them. Research suggests that sleep helps clear toxic molecules from the brain, too.
  5. You're hungry - and piling on the weight? If the brain is not getting the energy it needs from sleep, it will often try to get it from food. We may suffer some serious craving and, if we're awake at night, may even indulge in some sneaky snacking. Try to resist! Poor sleep affects our blood sugar regulation and, as we stop watching what we're eating, we also anything sweet. Scientists also found that just four and a half hours of sleep for four days straight can reduce our fat cells' ability to respond to insulin (the hormone responsible for regulating energy) by 30%.
  6. You are impulsive. We have all had those moments of impulse buys and desires. Think about it - did you find yourself online buying lots of products you didn’t need late at night?  Scientists suggest poor sleep exhausts our internal resources and willpower. One study found that substance abuse, gambling and excessive spending can all be curbed with some decent sleeping habits.

So what can you do to help the sandman bring you a dream?

  1. Avoid napping during the day.
  2. Avoid spicy, heavy, sugary foods and alcohol and caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime.
  3. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
  4. Use comfortable bedding.
  5. Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.
  6. Block out all distracting noise - don’t take your worries to bed.
  7. Try a light snack before bed.

 

 

 

Tags: balance, Energy, Health, Mood, Relax, Sleep

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