How important is sleep?

So we all know that without sleep we find it hard to function. As I get older I have noticed that if I have one really late night or a disturbed nights sleep, the next day (or even days) I feel dreadful. I wanted to find out whether not getting enough sleep, or poor quality sleep really effects our health.

What I found out was that sleep does infact play a very important role in physical and mental wellbeing. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and strokes.

There are two types of sleep REM-rapid eye movement and NON-REM non rapid eye movement. These occur in regular patterns of 3-5 cycles a night. So how much sleep is enough? – This differs with age:

4-12 months: 12-16 hours a day (including naps)

1-2 years: 11-14 hours a day (including naps)

3-5 years: 10-13 hours a day (including naps)

6-12 years: 9-12 hours a day

13-18 years: 8-10 hours a day

Adults: 7-8 hours a day

One of the most interesting facts I found out, is that if you routinely lose sleep, or choose to sleep less than needed, the sleep loss adds up. This is called ‘sleep debt’ and you can’t really replace it. Bad sleep habits and long-term sleep loss therefore will affect your health.

You can take steps to improve your sleep habits and the quality of your sleep.

Turn off the screens at least an hour before bed (this is so hard in our fast modern world, but give it a go and you will be surprised how you will fall to sleep more easily and have better quality in those first few hours)

Try and go to bed roughly at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning.

Avoid caffeinated drinks, refined sugars and heavy meals late at night.

Try to put at least 20-30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine, even better if you can do this outside.

Have a hot bath before bed, maybe adding some essential oils to aid sleep.

Try plugging an electric diffuser in a couple of hours before bed, filling with relaxing oils and turning on in the bedroom.

Himalayan Salt Lamps have also been known to help with sleep, turning one of these on before bed.

Set your Wifi to go off overnight. There has been studies, that especially children who suffer with ADHD or Autism are sensitive to the waves so therefore don’t get the quality of sleep they need. Ours goes off at 10:30 and the turns back on at 7. (This is also good for the teenagers even if they try to sneak their electronics to bed!

I do try and have a bath and switch off a couple of nights a week and when I do this I definitely feel like I sleep deeper and have better quality. I also do have a diffuser by my bed and add essential oils to my bath.

Check out our range of essential oils including Lavender from doTerra and Deep Relax from Aromatherapy Associates.