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Skincare for self-care

MANDI MAKES

Natural Living Made Simple

MANDI MAKES

Unlock the Power of Sleep: Your Ultimate Guide to a Healthier Life

Self-care challenge

Ah, sleep - that magical state where you’re whisked away to dreamland and your body and mind get the chance to reboot. It's that glorious time when you can escape the chaos of the day and dive into a world of tranquillity. But did you know that sleep isn't just about catching Z’s? It's a powerhouse of benefits that can supercharge your physical and mental health. So, buckle up and get ready to explore the science behind the wonders of sleep!

 

What’s in the blog:

 

 

THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP: WHY IT'S ESSENTIAL

Sleeping dog

Let’s kick things off with a little science lesson, shall we? Your body is like a well-oiled machine, and sleep is the maintenance it needs to keep running smoothly. When you snooze, your body gets busy repairing muscles, consolidating memories, and regulating hormones. It's like hitting the reset button on your entire system, setting you up for success the next day.

 

That's the basics of it! We will dive into 10 scientific benefits of sleep a little further down.


 

HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU REALLY NEED?


Now, let's talk numbers. The amount of shut-eye you need depends on your age and gender.

 

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Adults (18-64 years old): Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

  • Older Adults (65+ years old): 7-8 hours should do the trick.

 

And hey, don’t forget about our younger snoozers:

  • Teens (14-17 years old): Shoot for 8-10 hours.

  • Children (6-13 years old): 9-11 hours is the magic number.

  • Preschoolers (3-5 years old): 10-13 hours of sleep will keep them bouncing with energy.


 

Sleeping dog

THE PERKS OF A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP


Now, let’s get to the good stuff - the benefits! Here’s why getting enough sleep is the ultimate game-changer:


  1. Boosted Immune System: Ever notice how you’re more likely to catch a cold when you're sleep-deprived? That's because sleep is your body's secret weapon against germs. It revs up your immune system, keeping those pesky bugs at bay.

  2. Sharper Brain: Say goodbye to brain fog and hello to laser-sharp focus! Sleep is like brain food, helping you think faster, remember better, and solve problems with ease.

  3. Mood Makeover: Ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Blame it on a lack of sleep! Catching enough Z’s can turn that frown upside down, boosting your mood and keeping those grumpy vibes at bay.

  4. Heart Health: Your ticker deserves some love, too! Clocking in enough sleep lowers your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. It’s like giving your heart a cozy hug every night. A lack of sleep deprives your body of important hormones that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.

  5. Regulates blood sugar: Mood swings, fluctuating energy levels? They can both be related to blood sugar levels. Sleep helps to balance that by allowing the body to convert the food to energy and regulate your metabolism.

  6. Lower stress: I feel like we all get sick of hearing the word “stress”. I hear you! Well, sleep can help reduce it so it doesn’t become such a big part of your vocabulary. The relaxation sleep provides helps the body to recover from stress. When we are sleep-deprived, our body releases stress hormones. So, getting enough sleep is key to preventing that.

  7. Maintain a healthy weight: Who knew that more sleep would help with our weight? Enough sleep can help with the balance of key hormones that control appetite. That’s why shift workers, especially night workers can find it the hardest to maintain a healthy weight.

  8. Better balance: This is one I had never come across before deep-diving into the research! A lack of sleep can cause short-term balance problems of all things, which is called ‘postural instability’. I’m sure you can surmise what happens with a lack of balance, we get injured!

  9. Better energy and alertness: this one is a bit of a no-brainer, but it affects our entire day and everything in it. Including, our feelings to exercise which we know helps us sleep better (more on that later).

  10. Damage control: Sometimes without realising it, our bodies undergo a lot of pressure during the day that causes damage to our cells. This is super common. But, sleep allows this damage to be repaired as our cells produce proteins while we sleep, which is the key component to cell repair.

 


Sleep

 

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR A SNOOZE-WORTHY SLUMBER


Ready to up your sleep game? Here are some scientifically proven ways to catch more quality Z’s:

Sleep

  1. Create a Zen Den: Make your bedroom a sanctuary of sleep. Keep it cool, dark, and quiet for the ultimate snooze fest.

  2. Banish Screens: Sayonara, screens! Power down your gadgets at least an hour before bed to give your brain time to unwind.

  3. Stick to a Schedule: Your body loves routine, so try to hit the hay and wake up at the same time every day. Consistency is key! Even on the weekends as much as possible.

  4. Mindful Moments: Wind down with relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. It's like giving your brain a gentle lullaby to drift off to dreamland. I have seen a huge improvement in the time it takes me to fall asleep by taking 5 minutes to do some gentle stretches and breathing deeply before jumping into bed.

  5. Watch Your Diet: Skip the late-night snacks. Opt for sleep-friendly foods like bananas, almonds, or a warm cup of tea instead.

  6. Exercise during the day: No cross-fit workout is required, just a 20-minute walk will help reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep. However, more exercise is great if you can manage it.

  7. Reduce the light: Opt for a soft yellow lamp light in the evenings, at least an hour before bed to help your brain wind down. Bright lights tell our brain that it’s not nighttime and prevents our sleep hormones from doing their thing.

  8. Skip the caffeine & alcohol: avoid caffeine after midday to avoid any stimulation to the brain. It’s a bit of a misconception that alcohol can make you sleep better. Yes, it can make you feel relaxed and fall asleep, but it suppresses REM sleep, which is a super important part of our sleep cycle. Just two drinks can reduce the quality of sleep by 24%.

  9. Brain dump: My biggest struggle with falling asleep has always been trying to get my brain to be quiet! When it just won’t stop, writing down my thoughts has been amazing at letting my brain process and release everything. While I don’t solve the problems I’m mulling over, just getting them down on paper feels like a burden lifted.

  10. Have a warm shower/bath: Not only does this help to physically wash away the dirt of the day, but it can also be an incredible way for our brain to “wash away” the thoughts and burdens from the day. Doing this 1-2 hours before bed can speed up your time to get to sleep by 10 minutes.



Sleeping koala

 

THE BOTTOM LINE


So, there you have it - the secret to unlocking a healthier, happier you lies in the power of sleep. By making shut-eye a priority and following these tips, you'll be well on your way to a life filled with energy, vitality and all-around awesomeness. So, dim the lights, fluff those pillows, and get ready to embrace the sweet embrace of sleep. Your body and mind will thank you for it!

 

Got more sleep tips? Share them in the comments below.

 

Sleeping cat

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Hi, I'm Mandi. A former primary teacher, Lifestyle Medicine graduate and current Diploma in Natural Skincare student with a passion for natural living.

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