We do it every single day of our lives, almost without exception. Yet we are still only just beginning to scratch the surface of exactly why we need sleep and how it benefits us.
Recent studies have shown that sleep affects every part of our lives: from concentration to weight control, memory to physical recovery. As Professor Jason Ellis, Director of Northumbria University’s Centre for Sleep Research, states,
“Our understanding of sleep and its role in human health is still in its infancy but it is developing at a rapid pace . . . We have gained considerable insight into how sleep affects mental health, such as depression, and physical illnesses including diabetes, cancer and coronary diseases.”
The effects of a good sleep pattern can be profound. Getting sufficient sleep has been found in studies to aid long-term memory, assist in weight control and contribute towards improved physical conditioning.
In fact, research carried out at Stanford University in the USA even found that increasing basketball players’ nightly sleep to nine hours improved performance by as much as 10%.
How do I ensure that I get a good night’s sleep?
The simple answer is spending enough time in bed. But not only should sleepers aim for between 7 and 9 hours under the covers, we should also ensure that the conditions for quality, restorative sleep are right.
An estimated 50% of the UK population suffer from sleep problems, a figure that could be lowered significantly by following a number of simple steps. Professor Ellis says, “In order to improve your sleep you need to consider: the sleep environment, your own behaviour or routines and your thinking processes.”
Key factors that can improve sleep include:
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods
- Regulating temperature
- Reducing distractions – this includes TVs, digital devices and books that can overstimulate the brain
- Keeping the bedroom dark
- Ensuring comfort
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A cool, comfortable and pain-free sleeping experience goes a long way to improving the quality of sleep.
Find out more about Professor Jason Ellis’s complete list of sleep tips or browse the Performance Range now.