The importance of sleep

The importance of sleep

 16 Aug 2018

This week I have been thinking (and moaning) a lot about how important a good nights sleep is.  The reason for this stems from my experiences over the last month or two.  Whilst most new parents out there will be able to relate a lot to this, sleepless nights are a new thing to me.  I don’t have kids and I live on my own so usually I get a full undisturbed sleep.  But this has changed over the last few months due to looking after a family pet (an 11year old Shitzui).  Due to some health issues our dog now seems to be unable to sleep at night time which has resulted in us being up a lot during the night.  Last night I managed to get 2hrs sleep before she started stirring and barking the house down.  Having got up and settled her I was then able to get another 2hrs before she woke up again.   Obviously at 7am she was sleeping like a baby….just as it was time for me to get up. 
So how does a disturbed sleep affect us mentally and physically. 
The benefits of a good uninterrupted nights sleep:
  • Positively affects your mood – a good nights sleep is likely to put you in a good mood and ready for the day ahead, which in turn will help with your concentration and productivity
  • Can help your memory by giving your brain time to rest
How lack of sleep can affect your health:
  • Increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease
  • Can make you put on weight
  • Can lead to depression
  • Affect your immune system
  • Can give you high blood pressure and put more strain on your heart
Before I started this blog I read a number of articles about sleep patterns and the importance of sleep and I came across a book called ‘Why we sleep’ by Matthew Walker, reviews of this state 'A top sleep scientist argues that sleep is more important for our health than diet or exercise' (The Times).  I bet there are a lot of people out there that think missing out on some sleep isn’t a big deal, but prolonged periods of disturbed sleep really is bad for your health.  So what we need to ensure is that we are making the most out of the sleep we are getting. 
  • Switch off all digital devices off (TV, mobile phones etc) about an hour before you go to sleep
  • Don’t eat late at night
  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol before bed
  • Have a bath and unwind from the day
So whilst I am hoping my situation should not last long (I am keeping my fingers crossed that the dogs new medication calms her down) I praise all you parents out there that have constant sleepless nights….I honestly don’t know how you do it!! Just remember to make the most of the sleep you do get!


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