Sleep 101

The sleep we get impacts how we feel everyday! Keep reading to learn more about why sleep is important to maintaining our personal wellness.

Our bodies rely on us getting a good night’s sleep to be our best selves. We truly can’t function without sleep, which is why it’s important to make sure we are getting enough every night. Given busy lives and schedules, getting a full night’s sleep every single night might not be possible, but is something we should all strive for.

How much sleep do I need?

The amount of sleep that an individual needs depends on several different factors. Typically, adults need from 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Everyday Health states that it is not always the number of hours of sleep you get a night, but how you feel in the morning. Are you waking up refreshed or do you wake up still feeling groggy and tired? It is often the quality of sleep that determines how we will feel in the morning. Remember to listen to your body to determine if you are getting enough sleep. To read more on this, check out Everyday Health’s article here.

A good way to keep an eye on your sleep habits is to track them in a journal. If you find you are waking up feeling groggy or tired, check back on your sleep journal to see if there are any recurring habits throughout the week.

Why is it important to get a good night’s sleep?

It is no secret that our bodies need sleep to function. Not getting adequate sleep has both short term and long term consequences.

If you are not getting enough sleep, you could start to notice some short term effects in your day to day. You are likely to have a harder time concentrating, remembering things, you could be more moody and irritable, your judgement could be skewed, you might have less patience, and your hand-eye coordination could be a bit off.

There are also longer term repercussions of not getting enough sleep. Everyday Health states that chronically not sleeping well has been shown to be linked to higher risk of chronic problems. These include obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, depression, anxiety, and poor immune function. Read more on this here.

How do I get a good night’s sleep?

Sometimes as much as we want to quickly fall asleep each night, that is not always the case. Try the tips below to see if any of them help you get a full nights sleep.

  • Keep an eye on your caffeine intake. Substitute caffeinated drinks for something else instead. If you like warm beverages try a herbal tea in the evening or late afternoon.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity increases the time spent in deep sleep and can increase the amount of sleep you get.
  • Avoid bright lights or screens right before bed.
  • If you can’t sleep, don’t linger in bed. Try getting up and doing something relaxing like reading a book or light yoga.
  • Develop an night time routine – this will help to tell your body to wind down for the night and go to sleep. This includes going to sleep and waking up at the same time.
  • Avoid taking naps throughout the day. This can cause you to feel less tired when you go to bed.

Thanks to Everyday Health and Healthline for some of the ideas!

Looking for another way to take care of yourself? A Personal Health Plan from Saskatchewan Blue Cross offers coverage for Health Practitioners including acupuncturists, massage therapists, and chiropractors.