Sleep Well To Improve Health & Recovery
The Power Of Sleep…Sleep is one of the most important aspects of health and recovery. It is invaluable to everyone, in every stage of life. Unfortunately today’s society does not practice good sleep habits with sleep being greatly impacted by early starts, late nights, high-stress and over indulging in screen time through modern technology.
To enable the body to fully recover from the day’s events the National Sleep Foundation recommends different amounts of sleep for those in different age categories.
New-borns (0-3 months), 14-17 hours per day
Infants (4-11 months), 12-15 hours per day
Toddlers (1-2 years), 11-14 hours per day
Pre-schoolers (3-5 years), 10-13 hours per day
School age children (6-13 years), 9-11 hours per day
Teenagers (14-17 years), 8-10 hours per day
Young adults (18-25 years) and adults (26-64 years), 7-9 hours per day
Older adults (65+ years), 7-8 hours per day
Achieving LESS than the recommended hours per day:
There are various impacts of achieving less that the recommended daily hours of sleep. A lack of sleep can result in increased fatigue and delayed recovery. Studies have shown that recovery from injury is greatly impacted by the quality and quantity of sleep that a patient sustains. Achieving less than the recommended daily hours of sleep can also result in increased stress and negative emotions along with a craving for sugary, unhealthy foods.
Achieving the recommended duration, or MORE, of quality sleep will:
Achieving the recommenced duration of sleep, an durations in excess of this, can result in increased energy levels and reduce fatigue. Additionally, good quality and quantity of sleep have been shown to decrease recovery time both from injury and recovery needed between high level exercise sessions. Very importantly achieving the recommended duration of sleep results in balanced hormones, reduced stress and reduced craving for sugary or unhealthy foods.
10 Strategies To Improve Sleep Quality & Duration
Create a relaxing space. Clean and tidy bedrooms ease the mind to help the body to relax.
Certain foods have been shown to prepare the body better for sleep, for example eating turkey (eggs, chicken, fish or nuts) can make you drowsy. This is due to tryptophan levels found in these foods. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that has been shown to aid sleep.
Do not consume any caffeinated drinks after 3pm. Instead, consider trying decaffeinated or caffeine free alternatives, including herbal teas.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption. Drinking alcohol before going to bed may help you to initially fall asleep. However, alcohol has been shown to impact the quality of sleep and therefore may hinder recovery.
Remove any sources of artificial light from the room. This includes telephones and television. The blue light that is emitted from these screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm). This impacts relaxation and causes disrupted sleep. Light from fluorescent bulbs and LED lights can produce the same effect.
Keep your room cool, research shows that 19 degrees Celsius is an ideal temperature. When lying in bed trying to snooze, your body temperature decreases to initiate sleep—and the proposed temperatures above can actually help facilitate this. If your room is cool, rather than warm, it will be much easier to shut your eyes for the night.
Be active during the day so that your body is naturally tired and ready for sleep.
Deep breathing techniques or meditation have been shown to relax the body and help prepare for sleep.
Lavender has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in a more relaxed state ready for sleep.