FOCUS

Why Sleep Matters!

Who doesn't like a good 'ole sleep?!

Alarm ClockSleep has been talked about a lot lately, and to be honest, it’s something we just love doing! A lot of people take sleep for granted, and don’t really know why it’s important. So we thought we’d give you some top reasons why it is, and also tips on getting shut-eye!

1. Sleep helps you to function properly. If we don’t have a full night’s sleep, as well as feeling tired, our poor brain becomes affected – from memory loss, planning, sense of time and speech – staying alert and on top form can all be to do with how much sleep we get.

2. According to the BBC, 17 hours of being awake can lead to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.05% (around two glasses of wine), the legal drink driving limit in the UK. That is quite a crazy thought, but being tired in general can affect the way we behave.

3. Everybody has individual times on how much sleep they actually need, but if you’re relying on coffee and energy drinks to keep you awake, you’ve obviously not had enough sleep!

4. Recent UK research has found that bad sleep can affect the internal working of our body. During a study involving people and sleep, 100s of genes were altered when people had less than 6 hours sleep a day for a whole week.

5. Bad sleep has been linked to ill-health – heart disease, diabetes, obesity and poor brain function. Why this is, is unknown at the moment.

6. Is your mind filled with all the things you’ve got to get done? Before going to bed, write a to-do list with all the things you want to do the following day. It creates a feeling of being more in control and it’ll help you feel less stressed!

7. The problem with living in a generation full of computers, tablets, phones and a huge amount of TV channels, is that it means we get distracted. These days we don’t give our brain time to clock onto the fact that it’s late, and you’re ready to sleep. Try and resist the urge of being distracted by tweeting and scrolling down your news feed – your body will thank you for the sleep!

8. Already sorted the above but want help on relaxing before bed? Save that last hour or two for something that isn’t going to keep your brain working  – that means put the Sudoku puzzle down! Try reading a book or a magazine, or why not take a relaxing bath?

9. Feeling tired during the day? If you’ve been stuck at the office or have been sitting watching DVDs all day, get up and take a walk or exercise. Getting air in the lungs and your heart pumping will wake you up. Sometimes you just need to get moving again!

10. If you are constantly tired even though you’re getting enough sleep, it could mean you’re lacking iron. In this case, go and visit your doctor.

11. Sometimes a short nap in the afternoon can get rid of tiredness. Mind you, keep it short otherwise you’ll most certainly have trouble dozing off later!

12. Lastly, apparently if you’re getting enough sleep you don’t need an alarm clock! Your body will wake up at the right time… oo-er! I think we’ll stick with it, thanks!

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