Sleep better so you can work better

by | Oct 10, 2016

Why we need to sleep better

Sleep impacts every part of our lives, from our performance at work to our long-term health and mental well-being. Sleep is integral to your health and a few small changes to your everyday life can make big improvements.  Once you start getting more restorative sleep you will be amazed at how fabulous you feel, you will have increased focus and work better - you will be able to work smarter not harder! Learning what helps you sleep better is critical.

sleep-better

Why sleep is so important:

 • We only heal when we sleep - our bodies do their most critical regeneration and repair work when we’re asleep. To heal better we need to sleep better too.
• Some of our body’s most important hormones including those that regulate appetite are produced in our sleep. [Tweet "Long-term lack of sleep can be a big factor in weight loss resistance."]
• Studies have shown that sleep-deprived drivers are as incapacitated as drunk drivers.
• Sleep deprivation makes us more depressed, speeds up the aging process, impairs our attention span, memory, and every other important cognitive process.

What happens while we sleep?

Many major restorative functions occur while we sleep such as muscle growth, protein synthesis, tissue and cell repair. During the day our neurons fire and our cells power us through the day and this process produces a neurotransmitter called adenosine.  This builds up all day long, leading to a decrease in the neurotransmitter dopamine (this keeps us alert and focused). When adenosine goes up, dopamine goes down and this creates the sleepy feeling we get at night.  Then while we sleep, adenosine is cleared from the body so we can start fresh in the morning feeling awake and alert. The are many significant benefits if we sleep better.

How much sleep do you need?

Make sure you're getting the right amount of sleep

Make sure you're getting the right amount of sleep

The number of hours of sleep we need is between 7 and 9 hours.  However, if you are groggy and relying on caffeine to get you through the day, then it is likely that you need more sleep than that.

The most restorative sleep is between 11pm and 7am because of our circadian rhythm.  This rhythm is influenced by your environment and controls all of the changes that happen in your body in a 24-hour cycle, including your sleep pattern.

What happens if you don’t get enough sleep?

Many of my clients before they start working with me say they don't have time and "they will sleep when they are dead" but if you are getting less sleep than 7 - 8 hours a night, you are also affecting your overall health and wellbeing.  As mentioned, lack of sleep can lead to an increase in appetite because your body is compensating for a lack of energy and struggling to find fuel for your daily activities. This results in weight gain and can increase your risk for many health issues such as developing type 2 diabetes, heart problems, respiratory disorders, depression, substance abuse problems, less focus and a shorter attention span.  Your reaction time is impaired and how you react to unexpected events and information is compromised. It's really important to try to set up habits to help you sleep better.  Remember a time when you were suffering from lack of sleep, you are usually less more quick tempered, less likely to help people, less patient and you know what I am talking about and have just possibly not connected it to your lack of sleep but they are all related.

7 Tips for Better Sleep:

1. Complete darkness: this increases your natural production of melatonin, our sleep inducer.
2. Diffuser: Oils such as lavender and vetiver help to relax you, reduce stress and induce sleep.
3. Switch Off: switch off all technology at least 1 hour before going to bed. Make sure your lights are dim and practise deep breathing or meditate to let your body naturally relax and make melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles).
4. Skip the caffeine: Caffeine not only affects our ability to go to sleep but it can also impact how restful our sleep is. Switch to herbal tea. I always work to get my clients off caffeine for a number of reasons as the benefits (if any) are short lived and in the long term it works against you, making you even more tired.

A drink before bed could make you sleep worse

A drink before bed could make you sleep worse

5. Skip the alcohol: Alcohol may feel like a sedative as it slows down brain function, leaving you with a feeling of being relaxed and worry-free. But, as it is metabolized, but the liver is acts as a stimulant in our bodies. This is what wakes us up in the early hours of the morning and affects the quality of our sleep.

6. Magnesium: Magnesium is the relaxation mineral and is crucial for sleep. At night we need magnesium to move into our cells for relaxation and great quality sleep. If we are dehydrated, or stressed then the correct exchanges do not take place and we can end up with trouble going to sleep, or with broken and interrupted sleep and can actually feel worse when we wake up.
7. Clear your mind: journal or use a gratitude dairy - write down anything that is on your mind as well as what you are grateful for, this allows your mind to relax instead of racing and trying to remember things for the next day . You could also try a guided meditation - there are many available.

[Tweet "When it comes to your sleep, quality and quantity, don’t give up."] You will find a strategy that works for you.

  If you want to find out where your are in your career take our Career Assessment  NOW 

Kerry Madgwick Contributor
Kerry Madgwick is founder and creator of the Vitality+K Lifestyle Programmes: Making Health and Happiness Easy, helping you create daily rituals that nourish you and make sense. Kerry’s is author of the book “If you Believe you Can Heal Yourself You Can”. Kerry is passionate about helping clients increase their energy and feel fabulous. Learn how to ditch willpower and build successful daily rituals, detoxify, optimise, revitalise and energise naturally ~ Be Happy~Be Healed~Be Whole!
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