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Wednesday 21 August 2019
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The secret to healthy sleep

man asleep

Sleeplessness is common for many people, as there are many factors in the modern world which can contribute to insomnia, or the feeling of not being asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next day. Restful sleep is essential in maintaining normal cognitive actions and brain development, and it’s estimated that a third of people in the UK experience it in episodes during their lives. Many factors including age, lifestyle, environment and diet play a part in how much sleep you get.


The impact of poor quality sleep

Poor quality sleep is a well-known cause of poor moods and lack of concentration during the next day. However little or bad quality sleep has been shown to have a detrimental impact on your overall health. A string of several nights of restless sleep in a row can have some serious effects on your ability to perform normal tasks, and you will feel down, foggy and unable to make decisions.


Sleep is critical in the building of proteins to maintain a functional body. By not refreshing ourselves through enough healthy sleep, we do not replenish and regenerate new cells – therefore prolonged lack of sleep can lead to degenerative illnesses. Cases of the development of Type II diabetes has also been shown to occur in individuals who regularly fail to achieve enough hours of deep sleep a night, due to a change in the way the body uses high-energy glucose. Good levels of sleep can actually boost your immune system, and stop you from over-producing the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger, therefore more likely to keep you at a healthy weight.


Five things that stop a night of healthy sleep


  1. Your environment – noise and light in the room will impact your ability to fall into a healthy sleep cycle. When we start to fall asleep and feel drowsy our brains are still active, and therefore any distractions in the room will hinder your body’s ability to move into deeper sleep. If we miss out on any part of our normal sleep cycle we feel the impact of lower quality sleep.
  2. Irregular routine – when a room becomes light, our brains prompt us to become more alert and wake up. So when going to sleep earlier or later than normal, we are likely to disrupt the usual synchronisation of our internal body clocks, leading to reduced levels of deep sleep.
  3. Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol & food – a heavy meal or drinks containing alcohol or caffeine impact our ability to fall asleep. Once alcohol in our body wears off, breathing becomes more difficult and therefore causes us to be restless.
  4. Body temperature – we naturally lose heat when we sleep, and if bedrooms or duvets are too warm we are unable to lose this heat, causing restlessness and discomfort.
  5. A busy mind – feeling anxious about not getting enough sleep is a frustrating cycle. Our still-active minds wander while we are in early stages of sleep, and results in poor quality sleep.

 


Healthy sleep advice

Increasing your exercise routine is an easy way to decrease your sleep debt. Exercising will not only use more energy and make you physically tired, but will relax your mind and decrease levels of stress, leaving you more likely to gain increased hours of deep sleep.


If you have built up a sleep debt over a long period of restless nights, one early night will not have much effect, and you will need to gradually increase the amount of time you spend trying to sleep by adding on an extra hour every few days.


Relaxation is also key to maintaining healthy sleep levels, and therefore spending an hour before bed doing a mundane activity will allow your mind to relax, such as reading, taking a bath or listening to relaxing music. 

About CS Healthcare

This article is brought to you by CS Healthcare, the specialist provider of health insurance for those who work or have worked in the civil service, public sector, charitable or not for profit organisations. CS Healthcare stand apart from many of their competitors as a mutual friendly society established to protect their members and their families. Their mutual status means they just look after their members and, unlike some commercial insurers, do not have any shareholders. CS Healthcare pride themselves on providing a high level of personal service and it is this service that gives you access to experienced UK based staff, who are dedicated to helping you.

 

For further information regarding CS Healthcare please visit www.cshealthcare.co.uk.