How to improve the quality of your sleep

Many of us will admit then we could do with more sleep, but the demands of our lives often take over and sleep is sacrificed. Sleep affects us both physically and mentally, and it is crucial to our overall well-being.

A lack of sleep affects cognitive function, and those that are rested are generally more productive. You're are also more likely to suffer depression if poor sleep continues for a long period of time. Sleep also has an impact on growth, stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health. In fact, a chronic lack of sleep increases your chances of developing obesity, heart disease and infections.

On average, adults need 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night, which would consist of 4-5 sleep cycles. Each cycle includes both deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM).

If you struggle to get to sleep, or stay asleep during the night, then may be consider some of the following ideas:-

# Go to bed at the same time each night, and look to get up at the same time each morning

# Sleep in a dark, quiet, and comfortable environment

# Take regular exercise, but not right before bedtime

# Avoid using computers, phones and devices at least an hour before going to bed

# Take a warm bath before bed, or read a book

# Consider stress management techniques to help you switch off

# Avoid consuming stimulants, nicotine and alcohol later in the day

# Practice meditation, and focus on breathing and mindful techniques

If you have ongoing difficulties, then look into making contact with a sleep consultant to guide you to better health.

NIH News in Health