The Wellness Edition No. 20 // The Importance of Sleep
So here we are with another Wellness Edition and today we talk about sleep. First of all, this is not a scientific post because you guessed it, I am not a scientist or physician. I can only speak from my own experience here and tell you that it took me many years to realise that sleep is pretty much the most important factor for my wellbeing. Unfortunately sleep seems to get quite a bad reputation in our society where we always have to work/study/socialise/experience something exciting and so on...but the thing is, a night of good sleep can do wonders for feeling well.
I am sure you know the feeling after a bad night...the next day you feel like total crap, right? Getting through the day is a real struggle. You are a lot more sensitive than usually, you feel like bursting out in tears about things that normally would not have such a dramatic effect on you. Feeling thin-skinned describes it best I think. After not sleeping enough or getting a night of poor quality sleep, the next day is tough because you feel a lot more emotional, nervous, sad, irritable about pretty much anything that happens.
Sleeping does not have the image of being cool in our society. I think this should change since sleep is so important for your emotional and physical health. But why? Apparently cells repair themselves at night, sleep is good for your memory and it is good for your immune system as well from what I have read.
All I know is that I feel horrible after not sleeping well or not getting good quality sleep because I went to bed too late, had nightmares or because I drank alcohol which also does not help to get good quality sleep - quite the opposite. When I was younger, I used to ignore my body's desire to sleep quite often and stayed up longer than I should have and I gotta say since I really listen to my body and go to bed when I feel tired, it does wonders on my wellbeing in general.
Think about your night routine and your sleep patterns. Do you sleep well? Do you feel good when getting up? Are you hungry in the morning? How much sleep we need depends on each person but I'd say we should at least try to get between 7 - 9 hours of sleep in order to feel well the next morning. Another thing I realised is how much sleep not only affects my mood but also my appetite and hunger. After a bad night's sleep I have no desire to eat in the morning and also not during the day (which is a bad sign, ladies and gentlemen) but after sleeping well I can't wait to eat breakfast and to get started with the new day.
To sleep well it is also important so establish a healthy night routine. Figure out what works for you. I need to eat a proper dinner before going to bed, otherwise I will wake up due to low blood sugar or empty glycogen stores...we want to avoid that. So make sure to eat enough in the evening or your sleep quality will suffer. Another takeaway message is not to overdo the wine or beer because alcohol also disrupts sleep.
What helps me to get good sleep is to make sure I ate enough during the day and in the evening, to go to bed more or less at the same time (preferably before midnight, I tend to sleep better then), to get up around the same time in the morning and to feel relaxed before I go to bed. Find something that helps you to relax and unwind, what works for me is reading and taking a hot shower in the evening. No surprise, a hot shower or bath brings up your temperature and if you are someone like me suffering from thyroid problems and often constantly feeling cold, a normal body temperature does wonders to feel relaxed and to be able to sleep well.
So the takeaway message from today's post; take a look at your sleep patterns and sleep quality and maybe make a few changes if you notice that you often don't sleep well or if your sleep quality is poor quite often. Make sure to fuel your body properly during the day because it will influence your sleep at night. Establish healthy evening routines in order to relax and unwind before going to bed. These are the things that work for me at least and maybe they will help you as well.