The Christmas holidays create the perfect recipe for a disrupted sleep routine. Think about it. We’re exercising less, drinking more alcohol, eating rich food, having time off work and our normal daily routines become non-existent. It’s like a montage of all the things that interfere with sleep, no less. So, add to that, shorter days and longer nights and our poor circadian rhythms are seriously confused.
Why is Sleep Important?
Before answering this question, we should point out that there are 5 stages of sleep that occur within a sleep cycle. These begin with stage 1 where you begin to drift into sleep and continue until stage 5, often referred to as REM sleep where you’re most likely to dream.
In stage 3, you enter deep sleep, and stage 4 is the deepest sleep stage of all. Breathing, heartbeat, body temperature and brain waves all lower during these stages. Several other things happen as well including:
- Muscles become extremely relaxed
- Memories are consolidated
- Learning and emotions process
- Physical recovery occurs
- Blood sugar levels and metabolism balance out
- The immune system is energized
- The brain detoxifies
- Tissue growth and repair take place
- Important hormones are released to do their jobs
- Cellular energy is restored
The longer that you remain in stage 3 and 4, the more recharged and refreshed you feel.
Conversely, if you don’t get enough deep sleep, these key bodily functions cannot take place and sleep deprivation kicks in. In short, obtaining enough deep sleep is vital to achieving optimal health and well-being.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
The effects of sleep deprivation are far-reaching and massively affect physical and mental health. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you might find that the following things happen:
- Finding it difficult to fall asleep
- Lying awake for long periods at night
- Waking up several times during the night
- Waking up early and being unable to get back to sleep
- Feeling down or having a lower mood
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Being more irritable than usual
- Feeling like you have not slept when you wake up in the morning
- Feeling hungry
- Making poor food choices
- Higher likelihood of suffering from a serious illness
- Poor hand- eye coordination
Sleep Routine for Adults
Healthy sleep habits are the way forward when it comes to a quality night of sleep. So how do you make a sleep routine? Well, luckily it's far easier than you might credit. With some easy tweaks, you could soon turn poor sleep around.
The first thing to understand is that a regular nightly routine helps the body and mind recognize that it’s bedtime. This might include taking a warm shower or bath to relax the muscles, getting stuck into an enjoyable book, meditating, practising some yoga, having herbal tea or lighting an aromatherapy candle. Whatever you enjoy doing to unwind can form part of your evening ritual. The key is to be consistent every night because this builds an association in the mind with relaxation.
It’s also important to get rid of disruptive evening habits. Ask yourself the question, are you staying up too late? Watching too much tv or scrolling through Facebook? None of these are conducive to sleep, of course. We know that we should turn them off, but we don’t. We really can be our own worst enemy!
Creating a sleep-inducing bedroom environment is also vital so ditch the bedroom tv, get a sunrise and sunset lamp and keep on top of your sleep hygiene. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting into bed and realising that you really ought to have washed the bedding! And having soft, comfortable, inviting bed linen and pillows is another factor that can seem minor, but make such a huge difference at bedtime.
If you like the sensation of falling back onto a cloud-like pillow, then you must try our Boutique Silk Pillow. We’re sure that once you’ve tried this pillow, you’ll never go back!
You’ll also love the classic, luxurious and unbelievably soft to the touch Night Owl Coverless Duvet, the perfect addition to your night-time routine to ensure a wonderful night of sleep.
You could also consider making other changes like installing blackout curtains, wearing eye shades, ear plugs and using “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans, and other devices that can make the bedroom more comfortable. These days there are even sleep meditation apps that can help you drift off to sleep so there’s really no excuse for poor sleep!