Is sleep as big an issue as what the media makes it out to be?
Yes, even one hour of sleep lost can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly. It also compromises your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and ability to fight infections. In a recent study of sleep habits among New Zealanders, 45% of participants reported experiencing insomnia symptoms at least once per week.
Studies by the World Association of Sleep Medicine show sleep disorders cost New Zealand at least 40 million dollars a year in lost productivity, and increases the risk of accidents and other illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory failure.
What are some signs you may need more sleep
- Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
- Moodiness and irritability; increased risk of depression
- Decreased sex drive; relationship problems
- Impaired brain activity; learning, concentration, and memory problems
- Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills; difficulty making decisions
- Inability to cope with stress, difficulty managing emotions
- Premature skin aging
- Weakened immune system; frequent colds and infections; weight gain
- Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents; hallucinations and delirium
- Increased risk of serious health problems including stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers
What daytime sleepiness or napping may mean
Sneaking in some sleep midday is linked to a long list of benefits, including improved mood and alertness, better memory, reduced fatigue and stress, and even lowered blood pressure. In addition, while your body clock is set to help you feel alert in the morning and sleepy in the evening, it’s also programmed to make you feel naturally tired mid-afternoon, and a nap has been shown as the best way to cope with this fatigue. naps aren’t for everyone. Some people wake up from an afternoon snooze feeling groggier than they did before they fell asleep, and for others, napping can interfere with the quality of their night time sleep—especially if they already suffer from insomnia. Needing to take naps due to excessive daytime sleepiness may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or depression. Talk to your doctor if you feel overwhelmingly exhausted during the day or if napping on a regular basis is a necessity for you
Things to try if you have trouble falling or staying asleep at night (insomnia)
- Rule out medical causes for your sleep problems. A sleep disturbance may be a symptom of a physical or mental health issue, or a side-effect of certain medications.
- Writing problems/thoughts down
- Herbs: Californian poppy, chamomile, zizyphus, 5HTP, passionflower,
What do healthy sleep patterns look like?
While sleep requirements vary from person to person, most healthy adults require 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night. However, how you feel in the morning is more important than a specific number of hours. Frequently waking up not feeling rested or feeling tired during the day are the best indications that you’re not getting enough sleep.
How to improve sleep?
Naturally boost your melatonin levels. Artificial lights at night can suppress your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Use low-wattage bulbs where safe to do so, and turn off the TV and computer at least one hour before bed.
Combine sex and sleep. Sex and physical intimacy, such as hugging, can lead to restful sleep.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Support your biological clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends.
- Get regular exercise. Regular exercise can improve the symptoms of many sleep disorders and problems. Aim for 30 minutes or more of activity on most days—but not too close to bedtime.
- Be smart about what you eat and drink. Caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods can all disrupt your sleep, as can eating heavy meals or drinking lots of fluids too close to bedtime.
- Get help with stress management. If the stress of managing work, family, or school is keeping you awake at night, learning how to handle stress in a productive way can help you sleep better at night.
- Improve your sleep environment. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and reserve your bed for just sleeping and sex.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Avoid screens, work, and stressful conversations late at night. Instead, wind down and calm your mind by taking a warm bath, reading by a dim light, or practicing a relaxation technique to prepare for sleep.
- If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve.
Causes of poor sleep habits
- Too much alcohol, caffeine, sugar
- Medication side effects
- Medical causes: pain, hyperthyroid, asthma, parkinsons, gastro problems, restless legs (a neurological problem with wanting to move the legs all the time), sleep anea, snorning, anxiety, depression, In some cases, insomnia may be caused by certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are known to be involved with sleep and wakefulness.
- Eating too late at night
- Having too much blue light and wifi
Deep Sleep / Fast Asleep / High 5HTP