The importance of a good night’s sleep

Beauty blog sleep


THIS WEEK health and beauty blog columnist Catherine McCurry looks at the importance of a good nights sleep to our health and well being.

Our busy lives are often consumed with an array of demands and it can be hard to fit everything in to one day. We often sacrifice sleep to meet those demands by staying up late into the night or setting the alarm an hour earlier and we are all guilty of this.

But, we often fail to realise just how important sleep is and it’s an essential part of our day.

Staying up late at night and getting up early in the mornings has a huge impact on not just our ‘beauty sleep’, but on our general health and well-being.

Our body clock has a big effect on our bodies and moods and it can effect alertness, mood, energy and the ability to handle stress.

Everyone has different sleeping patterns and while some people need less sleep than others, it’s a good idea to assess how you sleep and whether you are getting enough of it.

Work how many hours of sleep you are really getting, from – roughly – when you fall asleep to when you awaken.

If you need an alarm to wake you up in the mornings or not fully functional until you have a caffeinated drink, then you need more sleep.

Bad news for coffee lovers (myself included) – it’s recommended that you drink your last cup of tea or coffee before 2pm to allow the caffeine to be flushed out of your system.

Almost every morning I awaken feeling too tired to get up and despite having good intentions of going to bed before 10pm that same night, the temptations of social media and NetFlix is too compelling that I find myself still awake by 11.30pm.

Modern technology is keeping us awake later into the night and its accessibility has no bounds, meaning we can unwittingly spend hours online.

It’s a hard habit to kick but try and set the smart phones to the side by 10pm.

I spoke with an Enniskillen pharmacist who recommended that a better night’s sleep is aided by doing something relaxing.

She said: “Everyone has very different sleeping patterns and it’s important to know that children need more sleep than adults.

“Very young children need to get 12 hours of sleep at night whereas older people generally need less sleep, around eight hours.

“Some people who do shift work often have difficulty getting to sleep and these people don’t have a healthy cycle of sleeping.

“Sleeping can often be shifted by lifestyle or work. Others may resort to sleeping tablets but that’s only for a short term problem and should only be used for a week or two.

“People have to relax at night and not watch television right up until they go to bed or in bed. A lot of things can knock our sleep patter like stress or anxiety.

“It’s quite complicated as no two people are the same sleeping wise. Some people don’t go to sleep until 1 or 2am where as others are in bed at 10pm. Some people need less sleep than others.

“Do something that relaxes you, try and stay away from things like studying before bedtime, it could be a good idea to read something which relaxes you.”

Some top tips for a better night’s kip:

Go to bed before 11pm

Don’t exercise at least two hours before bed

Do something which relaxes you – like reading

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