Getting a good night’s sleep could be your best health hack

Healthy Sleep Practices

Dr Gina Cleo

What if I told you that there is one healthy habit that has the power to impact every area of your life and if you implemented it, you would support your immune system, regulate your appetite, metabolism, and mood, as well as balance your hormones, improve your heart health and concentration, and live a happier, healthier, and longer life?  

Well, there is, and that healthy habit is adequate sleep.   

Sleep is one of the most important habits we can implement for our health and wellbeing, yet its plethora of benefits are often underestimated. For too long, getting enough zeds has been viewed as a luxury and something we fit in after we’ve finished all our other daily activities. However, the cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of detrimental health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.  

To get the full benefits of sleep, it’s recommended that most adults get 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. However, studies show that 2 in 3 (66%) adults report frequently suffering with either trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep.  

Even though in a recent sleep report, 26% of respondents reported “often or always” worrying about getting a good night’s sleep, nearly half of the respondents reported that their work schedule or typical daily routine does not provide adequate opportunity for sleep. This suggests that for a huge proportion of the population, the pressures of work, family, social, and other lifestyle-related commitments prohibit them from getting the vital shuteye they need.  

It's time to change this in 2023 and make sleep our number one priority – yes, even before exercise. That’s right, I’m recommending that you don’t cut your sleep short to hit the gym in the mornings – you’re welcome.  

Getting a good night’s sleep starts with better sleep habits including: 

  • Establishing a regular sleep schedule: try going to bed and waking up at consistent times each day 

  • Making sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature 

  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime 

  • Turn off technology at least an hour before bed 

  • Get exposure to natural light during the day to help regulate your body’s internal clock (this makes it easier to fall asleep at night) 

By implementing good sleep habits, you can improve your sleep quality and wake up feeling more refreshed and energised.  

Dr Gina Cleo

Please note: Dr Gina's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic, please consult your healthcare professional.

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