Welcome to this month’s Don’t Get Your Gut In A Rut newsletter, which focuses on sleep hygiene. In this second half of my 2 part newsletter on sleep, we will focus more on research about sleep, how important it is to both mental and physical health, and some new habits you can implement to improve your sleep.
Sleep corresponds directly to psychology. Sleep problems are commonly exacerbated by conditions like anxiety, bipolar, depression, and attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD), creating a bidirectional relationship between sleep and mental health. Therefore, improving sleep can act as a preventative method of declining mental health. Plus, a lack of sleep contributes to irritability and poor mood, also making it more difficult to cope with stress.
Physically, poor sleep can be linked to diabetes (type 2), heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and kidney disease, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. I am giving you the facts not to scare you, but hopefully to motivate you to improve your sleep hygiene.
According to the Sleep Foundation, the different levels of activity in your brain, during the different phases of sleep, affect the ability to think, learn, and remember things, as well as the brain’s ability to process emotions.
So how much sleep is enough sleep? The answer is that it really depends on your age, and this article shows a nice chart displaying that. The bottom line is that most adults require 7-8 hours of sleep per night for optimal brain health, and sleep debt is how many hours per night you lose below 7-8 hours within a week. Unfortunately, naps can not be a remedy for sleep debt since your sleep phases during a nap don’t generally match the same quality/sleep phases you get during a full night’s sleep.
Since there is such abundant evidence showing how important sleep is, let’s now shift to ways you can improve your sleep to reach a consistent 7-8 hours per night. These may be suggestions you have heard before, but I will add in ways to also implement these suggestions to truly be consistent with them.
I realize this is a lot of information to take in as well as several suggested new habits to adopt.
As always, I am here to support, encourage, and help you stay accountable. Please reach out with questions/feedback or schedule your free 15 minute phone call by clicking HERE.