Written by Georgie Nesbitt
Why is sleep so important?
Many of us have been told since a young age that sleep is the best form of medicine. But what does this actually mean? Is sleep the answer to all our daily struggles? As Osteopaths we always advise our patients to get plenty of sleep every night to ensure a good quality of life and to aid their recovery. But what do we ACTUALLY mean when we say this?
Sleep is an essential function that your body needs in order to survive. However, a vast majority of people find it incredibly difficult to have a good night’s sleep which can lead to many different health and lifestyle issues. There are multiple factors that can affect a person’s sleep including:
CAFFEINE: Consuming caffeine late at night or even in the early evening can often lead to disrupted sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that alters the body’s natural rhythm –causing poor quality of sleep. There are alternatives to late-night cups of tea or coffee. Herbal teas containing lavender, or chamomile are often found to be an incredibly relaxing drink before bed.
ENVIRONMENT: The environment you surround yourself in whilst sleeping can often determine the quality of your sleep.
- Firstly, the mattress you use can have a significant impact on your bodies state of relaxation. Everyone is different and their mattress preferences differ, so it can be very hard to pick a mattress that suits you. Before, purchasing a mattress be sure to have tried it out either in the store or for a free trial before you make a decision that may disturb your restful nights!
- TEMPERATURE! It is so important to keep your room cool while sleeping. Warmer temperatures often cause discomfort and restlessness, anyone who has slept in a stuffy bedroom would agree that it is incredibly hard to drift away while sweaty and dehydrated. A cool room allows your body to regulate heat much easier and helps you to relax. The suggested temperature to sleep is around 18°c.
- When it gets dark at night, your pineal gland (located in your epithalamus) secretes the hormone melatonin. This hormone tells your body to become tired and sleep. This it is important to sleep in a dark room. Exposure to light whilst you are trying to sleep can make it difficult for your brain to achieve a deeper sleep. To achieve a dark space try using black-out blinds behind your curtains to eliminate any artificial lights from outside!
STRESS: It goes without saying, but your body finds it incredibly hard to drift off while your brain is buzzing with endless thoughts. This is ironic because sleep is a powerful stress reducer and can help settle your mind and body. There are many different tactics you can use to help your mind relax as you try to drift off.
- Distract yourself with meaningless mental lists.
- Use breathing techniques to control your thoughts.
- Try doing gentle stretches or yoga before bed to relax.
There are so many factors contributing to a good night’s sleep and the benefits of sleeping well are unmatchable. This is one of the many reasons why we recommended a solid sleeping schedule for all our patients. The NHS recommends that adults require between 6 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
About 1/3 of your life is spent sleeping and it is impossible to survive without sleep. Our Osteopaths advise a decent night’s sleep before and after every appointment and preferably during the course of your treatment. We recommend a good rest for numerous reasons including:
- Have better attention and motivation.
- Be able to learn new information more easily.
- Maintain a healthy immune system and be able to cope with stress and moderate your emotions.
- Be able to cope with stress and moderate emotions.
- Perform better at work.
At Solihull Osteopathic Practice, we pride ourselves on offering quality and professional support to help everyone who comes to us achieve optimal health. Our practice operates in a safe and clean environment, offering osteopathy techniques and a holistic approach to wellbeing, to deliver the best results we possibly can for you. All in all, sleep is one of the most important aspects of better health and a better lifestyle. Our Osteopaths are very skilled people but they can only work so much magic! If you allow a good sleeping schedule in your life you will never look back and your development in your road to recovery will excel!
You can book your first appointment online or can call our team on 0121 705 4499.