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Sleep: The secret to a good night’s sleep

Sleep: The secret to a good night's sleep

Sleep is an essential and crucial part of everyday life. Our quality of sleep has huge impacts on physical and mental health, quality of life, stress levels, work performance and overall happiness. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, focusing on getting a good night’s sleep can make critical differences to your mood and wellbeing. However, it is an aspect of life that many people do not consider as important.

Therefore, we are exploring how and why sleep is so important, and what you can do to improve your sleep hygiene to reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep

Sleep Facts

Why Sleep Important?

There is still a lot scientists don’t know about what happens during sleep and its function. However, research has found that sleep is essential to emotional and physical health.

A normal sleeper will cycle between REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and deep sleep every 90 minutes. Deep sleep is essential for producing physiological changes that help boost immune system functioning. REM sleep is the period of sleep where people dream. Research shows that REM sleep enhances learning and memory and contributes to long-term emotional health.

Key benefits of a good night’s sleep include:

Sleep Difficulties

On the other hand, disrupted sleep significantly affects your wellbeing. Scientists believe that sleep disruption impacts the levels of neurotransmitters, stress hormones and chemicals in the brain that have detrimental effects on thinking and emotional regulation. Sleep is so influential on mental health, that insomnia has been shown to amplify the effects of psychiatric disorders.

More than 70 types of sleep disorders exist with the most common being Insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep), Sleep Apnoea (disordered breathing that causes multiple awakenings), and Narcolepsy (extreme sleepiness or falling asleep during the day).

Sleep problems are also very common amongst people struggling with depression and anxiety disorders, especially Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sleep difficulties are also common in people diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

What Causes Sleep Difficulties?

Sleep issues can be caused by a number of factors including:

Impacts of Sleep Deprivation

Anyone who has pulled an all-nighter or has had a young baby knows that lack of sleep can completely change how you feel and how you act. Continued sleep deprivation is also extremely negative for your physical and mental health. Research has linked inadequate/disrupted sleep or sleep deprivation to:

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Different people need different amounts of sleep due to factors such as lifestyle, genetics, location, and health. However, a multitude of research on sleep has discovered that different age groups generally require varying amounts of sleep.

The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Below is table outlining the recommended hours of sleep for different age groups according to the US National Sleep Foundation. Interestingly, these findings show that the older you become, the less sleep you generally need.

Age Average hours of sleep needed
Newborn (0-3 months)14-17
Infant (4-11 months)12-15
Toddler (1-2 years)11-14
Pre-school  (3-5 years)10-13
School age (6-13years)9-11
Teen (14-17 years)8-10
Young adult  (18-25 years)7-9
Adult (26-64 years)7-9
Older adult (65+)7-8

Top 10 Tips for Improved Sleep

Given how important sleep is to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, we have brought together findings from the multitude of sleep research to provide our top 10 tips on how to improve your sleep hygiene

1. Have a Regular Sleep Schedule

2. Create Sleep Rituals  

3. Don’t Force Sleep
4. Avoid Napping
5. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine

6. Limit Screen Time Closer to Bedtime

7. Keep your Bed Reserved for Sleep
8. Exercise and Eat Well
9. Create a Calming Sleep Environment
10. Track your Sleep
Getting Support

These are all effective ways you can improve your sleep hygiene and get a good night’s sleep. However, if you have attempted to implement some of these strategies and are continuing to struggle with sleep, it is important to reach out for support.

Sleep difficulties can be a sign of physical or mental health problems as well as acute stress in your life. Seek support from your GP to investigate your sleep difficulties who may refer you to a sleep specialist. In addition, call your EAP, Acacia Connection, to gain support, advice and/or counselling to explore whether psychological or emotional difficulties may be underpinning your sleep struggles.

SLEEP SCIENCE WORKSHOPS:

The Workshop Lab is the Acacia Group workplace well-being training specialist. Employees can attend an eye-opening and informative Sleep Science workshop to help gain a deeper understanding of the importance of sleep; what happens when we sleep; and simple yet powerful strategies for improving it.

These sessions are delivered by experts in this field and can be delivered face-to-face or via webinar.

Duration: 1 – 3 hours
Format: Face-to-Face or via webinar

P: 1300 390 366 | E: info@theworkshoplab.com | W: www.theworkshoplab.com

If you or someone close to you needs support, contact Acacia Connection for an appointment.

P: 1300 364 273 | Text or Live Chat: 0401 337 711 | W: acaciaconnection.com