We all know how important it is to take part in regular exercise and ensure we’re eating well, but did you know that quality sleep, rest and recovery also have a big part to play when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle?
According to the experts, most of us need around eight hours of good quality sleep a night to function properly, although some people may be able to get by on less while others need a bit more to feel their best.
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for many reasons and although we all have to deal with the odd sleepless night from time to time, it’s important to try and maintain healthy sleeping habits whenever we can.
Why is sleep so important?
According to the NHS, a regular lack of sleep can be bad for your health - making you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Feeling tired and sleep deprived can also have an effect on your mental wellbeing, for example, you might feel down or be struggling to concentrate or make decisions.
Help if you’re struggling to sleep
If you are struggling with tiredness or a regular lack of sleep, there are resources available online which could help you take steps to improve your sleeping patterns.
The NHS website has some top tips on how to get to sleep - https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/ - including making sure you wind down before bedtime and keeping a sleep diary.
The Mental Health Foundation has also created a useful guide on how to sleep better, which can be downloaded for free via its website - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-sleep-better
Forming healthy habits
Feeling well rested can also help you form other healthy habits. For example, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep, you may feel more energised and be likely to make healthier food choices throughout the day.
However, if you were feeling tired and low on energy after a bad night’s sleep, it could seem more tempting to pick up that extra cup of coffee or eat a sugary snack for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Regular exercise can also help most people achieve better quality sleep, according to the Sleep Foundation.
The organisation has some useful advice on finding the right time to exercise and what kind of workout could best suit your sleep pattern - https://www.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/exercise-and-insomnia
Now our centres are open, you can also speak to the experts in your local 1Life club to find out more about the benefits of regular exercise and how it can help to support your wellbeing.