Two of my favourite men in the world got poked and prodded by doctors this week, so I think it’s a good time to remind everyone of the health and healing benefits of quality naps, deep sleep and general lazing about.
“Part of sleep’s effect lies in hormones. During deep sleep, the production of growth hormone is at its peak.” says William Collinge, M.P.H., Ph.D. in the CNN Article Sleep’s Healing Properties. He adds “Melatonin, often called the sleep hormone, is also produced during sleep. This hormone inhibits tumors from growing, prevents viral infections, stimulates your immune system, increases antibodies in your saliva, has antioxidant properties and enhances the quality of sleep.”
Ten Tips to Improve Your Sleep (plus one for good measure)
source: The Better Sleep Council
To get the sleep you need for a happier, healthier and more productive life, BSC recommends the following:
- Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule, including weekends.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music.
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment.
- Finish eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime.
- Exercise regularly. It is best to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.
- Avoid nicotine (e.g., cigarettes, tobacco products). Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep.
- Avoid caffeine (e.g., coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. It can keep you awake.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. It can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night.
- And pay your sleep debt. Getting even 30 minutes less sleep than your body needs can lead to accumulated sleep debt, which has both short- and long-term consequences for health, mood and performance, both on and off the job. It’s important to schedule 8 hours of sleep each night (7.5 to 8.5 is optimal) and maintain a regular sleep and wake schedule, even on the weekend.
For more information or to download the Better Sleep Guide for simple solutions that can help improve the quality of your sleep, please visit www.bettersleep.org.
Now – go have a nap! You’ll feel better.