Categories
health and wellbeing health, inspiration life coaching personal development stress management Transformational coaching

Sleep. It’s importance and 8 ways to improve your sleeping patterns, for a healthier lifestyle!

Hello there you!

How are you feeling today and did you get a good night’s sleep?

Are you getting enough sleep per night in general; i.e between 7-9 hrs? Are you struggling to fall asleep at the moment?

It’s tough sometimes to get the right amount, especially if you’re a new parent isn’t it? Or you could be going through other major changes in your life; should it be at work, your relationships, college or moving home.

But, getting the right amount of sleep each night is so important in order to decrease those stress levels; and to keep your anxiety levels controlled.  I know myself by not getting those early nights (my youngest is an early riser!) I don’t feel myself. Your concentration is poor the next day, then you reach for the junk food and you lack the motivation to exercise or to move forward with your goals. Getting those early night’s in helps your overall wellbeing and to control stress/ low mood.

Health problems

Sleep problems could cause health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression,  heart disease and reduced immune system function (sleepfoundation).This is not surprising as you do reach for unhealthy options when it comes to food ( I do and I’m also too tired to exercise if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep). But, I make sure I get those 8 hrs sleep each night, so I’m more motivated/focused to eat a well balanced diet, to exercise properly and to be more productive the next day.

Statistics

Research has shown:

  • That 40% of aged 18-24 struggle to fall asleep at night (sleep foundation)
  • 33% of people above 55 in the UK also struggle to fall asleep (sleep foundation)
  • 22% of people in general in the UK struggle to fall asleep (NHS)
  • 7-19% of the overall population struggle to get enough sleep (national institute of sleep)
  • 50-70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders.

Sleep problems during times of stress

What problems do you experience during times of stress? Low quality sleep can affect your physical and mental wellbeing if not controlled/managed. Prolonged sleep problems can cause health problems/diseases.

Common sleep disorders

  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep paralysis

During times of high stress I tend to get palpitations prior to falling asleep. I’ve also experienced sleep paralysis a handful of times during my life (now, if you’re aware of sleep paralysis then you know how terrifying that can be! Not pleasant is it?)

8 ways to improve sleep (Sleep Foundation, NHS)

  • Avoid Caffeine (a stimulant) and alcohol just before bed (at least 2hrs) as they can prevent you from falling asleep or going into a more deeper sleep
  • Exercise throughout the day but avoid it just before bed
  • Make sure your sleeping environment is dark, relaxed and with dim lights if you prefer a light on
  • Put away those gadgets – I know how distracting they are.  When I take mine to bed I’m scrolling and wasting valuable sleeping time (we’re all guilty of this aren’t we?) I always leave mine downstairs now.
  • If you’re feeling anxious, do a bit of writing before bed and let those worries out. It really helps.
  • Listen to a bit of relaxation music to help you drift off
  • Stick to going to bed at the same time each night so it becomes a habit/routine over time.
  • Invest in a sleep tracker if you’re really experiencing problems with sleep.

Do you like your tea/coffee before bed and can’t do without? Maybe try some calming lavender herbal tea instead – to help you drift into a more relaxed/calmer state just before bed.

Concluding thoughts

We often forget how important sleep is – especially when we’re running around and busy with life. But, it really is the foundation to leading a more healthier lifestyle. When tired/exhausted you reach for unhealthy foods and that Caffeine to keep you going and you lack the motivation to exercise. Your anxiety/stress levels increase and you are more prone to health problems in the future.

Take a step back, look at how your sleeping patterns are and adapt (using these tips I’ve shown throughout)

What tips do you have that helps you with sleep?

Thank you for stopping by to check out my post. And, here’s to you having a decent night’s sleep going forward!

Categories
stress management, stress, health and wellbeing, life coaching, Transformational Coaching, work-life balance, personal development

Stress.┬áCauses. And how to manage those stress levels; getting that spark right back!

Hello there you!

Are you feeling stressed? What are the signs when it raises it’s ugly head for you? Are you feeling tired, are you going through massive changes in your life at present? You probably have so much going on in your mind at the moment. Juggling way too many balls, would that be right?

Stats

According to the Mental Health Foundation UK, over 74% of adults have felt stressed and overwhelmed over the past year (this is no surprise with COVID). A high figure to the amount dealing with stress.

There really are so many contributing factors to raising those stress levels. I know myself when stress hits – as those palpitations start as I’m about to fall asleep at night (best to avoid caffeine if this happens)

So what is stress and what are the triggers?

It’s when your body goes into the fight and flight mode and as a result your cortisol levels go way way up. Cortisol is the main stress hormone and works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood (webmd). It also increases blood sugar and regulates blood pressure. 

Do you have a poor diet? Are you an overthinker? A perfectionist that compares yourself to others?What is your working environment and relationships like?  Are you sleep deprived? All these tend to make you more prone to stress (Oh I can tick quite a few myself but I’ve learned how to manage those levels and to recognise the signs)

Oh do I know when I’m stressed as I feel irritable, tired and just not myself. And, I always crave that chocolate, or junk food in general (and that raises those blood sugars to a high level) I always get a head cold and those beautiful little bad boys called ‘cold sores’ always make an appearance too! I know it’s time to slow down and look after my own body when I get all these symptoms. Getting a proper nights sleep really is the key!

So how do you manage stress?

  • Rest
  • Exercise regularly as it regulates blood sugar and lowers those cortisol levels  (even a long walk in nature or a swim. It doesn’t have to be strenuous)
  • Plenty of early nights (aim for at least 7 hrs)
  • Eat healthy foods i.e fruits, green leafy veg, eggs, yoghurt, wholemeal instead of white. Nuts, meat and oily seafood
  • Take a b vitamin
  • Journal and write it out
  • Avoid caffeine just before bed and limit the amount you take throughout the day
  • Take a break from social media if it affects your mood as that can be a big one (very guilty of that myself but I’m aware of it and have cut way down).
  • Breathing exercises are a great tool for pausing and to reconnect with yourself. Inhale deeply through the nose for 3 secs, exhale slowly through the mouth for 4 secs (give it a try)

Long term problems

Stress really can take it’s toll on the body, making the risks higher for hypertension, stroke, heart failure, digestive problems and many, many other problems (mayoclinic)

Listen to your body

Check in with yourself

For a more stress free life

You owe it your body and mind

Conclusion

If you are feeling stressed at the moment (oh there is so much going on in the world it really is inevitable at times to feel highly stressed and overwhelmed) take a step back, look at your diet, changes that are going on in your life and remember: REST, SLEEP, DIET and EXERCISE are all key to reducing stress and controlling your cortisol levels.

You owe it to your body and yourself.

How are your stress levels at present?

Be kind to yourself!

And breathe…