We’ve all experienced how wonderful it feels to wake up after a long and peaceful nights sleep. On the other hand if you’ve ever experienced insomnia you’ll know how draining and debilitating it can be. It will therefore come as no surprise that there is plenty of evidence showing a link between sleeping well and good health.
Australian sleep expert Dr Carmel Harrington who was in Canberra recently, explains that the average adult needs 7 to 9 hours sleep (and teens need more, somewhere between 9 and 10 hours). Interestingly, our grandparents got on average 2 hours more sleep than we do today so as our lives are getting busier and despite our need for sleep increasing we are actually getting less.
When we don’t get enough sleep our health suffers in three distinct areas:
We put on weight:
Poor sleep results in a lower metabolic rate, increased appetite and weight gain.
Our metal health suffers:
Lack of sleep is associated with a negative outlook and depression. In addition poor sleepers will experience a lack of motivation as well as impaired decision-making.
We get sick more easily:
Our immune systems are not as effective when we have poor sleep. So not only will you be more susceptible to getting colds and flus you are at higher risk of developing autoimmune illness.
So what can we do to get our sleep back on track? If you have trouble sleeping try following these simple tips:
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine, especially in the afternoon or evenings.
- Avoid or reduce your nicotine intake.
- Avoid foods that give you indigestion or heartburn such as rich or spicy foods.
- Avoid alcohol, even though it may help you feel sleepy and fall asleep, alcohol is linked to frequent waking, less restful sleep. If you are drinking alcohol with dinner try matching a each drink with a glass of water.
If these simple tips don’t work then rather than struggling seek professional help. In our experience herbal medicine is a very effective way of treating insomnia. The right herbs will not just help you get a good night's sleep but put your whole nervous system back into balance.
For expert advice and support for getting your sleep back on track, book in with Live Well's naturopath Shanna Choudhary.