According to Statistics Canada, 43% of men and 55% of women aged 18 to 64 reported trouble going to sleep or staying asleep which poses many negative outcomes for us. Sleep is essential in our daily functioning as it allows our bodies to release hormones to help repair cells, impacts our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Keeping this in mind, with almost half of Canadians lacking in sufficient sleep patterns, what can we assume to happen to our health overall? I’ll give you a hint, nothing good that’s for sure.
When you go to sleep and you dream about living in that mansion, with a litter of puppies always by your side and not a care in the world, what your immune system is doing is building up protective infection fighting substances. Basically as you’re living in a fantasyland, your body is working to help prevent you from becoming ill while you’re awake.
The recommended guidelines for proper sleep are to obtain 7-9 hours a night of sleep. Now before we go any further, you can obtain 8 hours of poor sleep, as there is a difference between sleep quantity and sleep quality. Sleep quantity is the amount of hours you are at rest for where as sleep quality refers to how well you slept for. You could be restless for 7 out of those 8 hours, which you will most likely wake up to that annoying alarm clock feeling more drained prior to going to bed. If this happens, how well do you think you’re going to function during the day? Probably get further running in two different directions.
When we do not achieve adequate sleep the night before, our executive functioning of our brain, which is an umbrella term for neurological based skills that involve mental control and self-regulation, tends to be diminished.
Prevention of inadequate sleep can be more difficult for some and easier for others, which is like everything in this world. If you are a shift worker you’re already at a disadvantage as your sleep pattern is constantly being tested, oppose to someone who works a 9-to-5 that has the ability to have a steady sleep pattern. Some general tips for everyone to place themselves in a good situation for adequate sleep patterns are listed below.
- Try to limit technology/ and or screen use two hours before bed. I know this may be difficult for some if they work late or they want to know what happens in the new episode of Greys Anatomy but it is 2019 and majority of the time you can figure out a way to watch the latest episode the next day during the daytime.
- Avoid caffeine intake past noon, this one also may take some extra effort for our coffee enthusiasts but lets give it the ole college try and refrain from the third or fourth cup of coffee by that time. Try a decaffeinated coffee if you just enjoy the taste or try hot water and lemon if you really want to throw yourself a curve ball
- Attempt to go to bed every night at the same time and get up at the same time. This will get your body into a routine and eventually you won’t even need that annoying alarm clock anymore. This can be difficult if you’re letting your hair down on a Friday night but that’s okay, you can give yourself a second chance and start up the routine the next day.