Are you getting enough sleep? It could add to your stresses if not

Teenage boy with sleep issues.

Are you getting enough sleep? It could add to your stresses if not

On a scale of one to ten, are you getting enough sleep?

It might seem like an unnecessary question because you’re young and supposed to be full of energy, but not getting enough sleep can impact on daily life by affecting your mental and physical wellbeing.

 

Bright and breezy or groggy as hell

I had a pretty good night’s sleep in terms of how long I slept for last night. I average between six and seven hours, but last night I had over eight! I actually think I had too much sleep and it got me thinking about the whole concept. I do fall asleep easily, but often my nights are restless. Can you relate to this? Tossing and turning in bed, feeling like you’ve not slept at all when in fact you’ve more than likely had a good few hours?

What’s even more annoying is when you wake up thinking you’ve had loads of sleep but you feel shattered! Urgh!

 

Do you know what sleep cycle you need?

Understanding your sleep cycle can help you to improve your quality of sleep. Do you use a sleep app on your phone to track your sleeping pattern? They can be insightful in logging the quality of your sleep and over time you can get an indication as to what a good night’s sleep is for you.

I’ve been reliably told that most of us sleep in ninety-minute cycles. This isn’t to say that you wake up every ninety-minutes, just that you typically shift into a different sleep cycle such as a light sleep as you drift off, a deep sleep, a dream, or REM sleep (rapid eye movement). To wake up naturally, coming out of a sleep state is the best time to feel refreshed, but to wake up in the middle of a deep sleep will make you feel super tired. This is because it’s like your body has been bulldozed out of a nice, fluffy, warm atmosphere into an uncertain environment. Think about it, you’re bound to feel a bit disorientated, a bit cheated and rather peed off!

Back on Track Teens Think Icon in GreenFrom now on, when you go to bed, try to work out what length of sleep you need based on ninety-minute chunks. It could be six hours, or seven and a half. Test it and find what works for you. A decent sleep app will determine what sleep cycle you are in and if you set your alarm to go off between a certain period, say 7-7:30am in the morning, the app should wake you up at the optimal time so that you feel refreshed.

Check out the following apps and see what works for you.

“Trust the vibes you get. Energy doesn’t lie”

 

Sleep is for wimps!

Yep it’s true, I used to think that sleep was for wimps! I’ve always led a busy life so I’d power through the periods when I felt tired. My time in bed used to range from four to six hours but as I’ve got older I’ve realised how important sleep is to a healthy body and mind. Power naps are also valuable and I used to think they were for wimps too!

Have you ever taken a nap in the afternoon? Normally, I’d have to feel ill or have jet lag in order to sleep outside of a nightly routine, but a nap of no longer than twenty minutes is extremely energising. Scientific evidence suggests that power naps boost your energy – you heard it here first!

Check out ‘When’ by Daniel Pink, a book that considers the best timing of things and he called naps ‘nappichinos’! And here’s another little gem for you, apparently if you have a coffee just before you have a twenty-minute power nap, it’s the perfect time for the caffeine to kick in. Double energy boost! Brilliant!

Teenage girl with sleep issues.
Sleep is critical for mental and physical wellbeing

As a teen you can think you’re invincible and have an ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude. Believe it or not, I have been a teenager so I know this to be true. On a darker flip side though, you might be plagued by thoughts of inadequacy and feel as though you just don’t fit in and this might be because you need more sleep.

Think of sleep as being just as important as nutrition and exercise for a healthy body and a healthy mind. Unfortunately, collectively, we are sleeping less and what sleep we do have is of a poorer quality because of how our modern society and technological environment operates. Here are a few things to be aware of that will encourage you to pick up good sleeping habits now to help you gain a healthier, more positive life ahead.

Many studies that show the detrimental effects of you not having sufficient sleep. Google it if you get a moment, but I’ve summarised a few below to help you consider your role with sleep and health.

Obesity

Sleep deprived people have a bigger appetite and tend to crave more sugar to keep them running throughout the day. In one study, children are 89% and adults 55% more likely to put on weight.

Poor concentration and productivity

It’s hard to concentrate when you’re tired. A study on medical interns showed that those working on a traditional schedule of twenty-four hours overtime made 36% more medical errors. This is worrying because our doctors and nurses generally do work way more hours than they should.

Higher risk of heart disease and strokes

Chronic diseases are linked to poor sleep because the cardiac system cannot function as efficiently.

Poor memory and problem solving ability

Sleep enhances memory and brain performance and is therefore important for academic, musical and sporting activities etc.

Diabetes

Sleeps affects how much glucose is absorbed in your body. One study of men restricted to just four hours sleep showed onset signs of diabetes in just one week. Fortunately, this was reversible.

Neurological diseases

Sleep deprivation can affect your eyesight.

Depression

It’s estimated that 90% of people with depression complain about poor sleep quality. Now this is important for youngsters as the pressures can be huge. When you are overtired the smallest incident can wind you up, making you more emotional and sensitive. Frequently feeling angry or tearful is a good indication that you need more sleep.

Immune System

Poor sleep lowers your immune system, which is why sleep deprived people are frequently ill and catch more bugs, colds and coughs.

Inflammatory system

Limited sleep results in your body cells becoming inflamed and nutrients not being absorbed properly.

Social interactions

The ability to interact socially effectively is reduced and people lose the ability to judge someone’s body language and emotions, which can cause conflict.

 

“Charging – do not disturb.”

 

Bottom line – get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is one of the most important pillars of health along with nutrition and exercise. Get off your phone, pause your game and ditch the late night movie in favour of a phenomenal night’s sleep! Everything is better in the morning after a good night’s sleep.

 

“I’m so good at sleeping I can do it with my eyes closed.”

 

Choose the life you want to lead

I’d love for you to stay in touch and share your findings on what your sleep quality is like now and how you improve over the next few days and weeks. Do you get enough? Is it good quality? What are your rhythms, light or heavy sleeper? How will you change your sleep patterns?

Commit to making it better; get an aid on your phone or watch and monitor it. Find the length that you need. Connect with me on social and reach out if you need advice or a few hints and tips. You can find me on socials below or click here to send me an email.

Stay positive, stay healthy and sleep well J

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