We all anecdotally know that sleep is vital to having optimal levels of energy, but recent research has explored the impact of poor sleep and insomnia on our health and has made some interesting discoveries. Chronic insomnia is described as having sleep issues for longer than 6 months.
Health risks associated with insomnia
Research has shown that people who take longer then quarter of an hour to fall asleep have a 300% greater risk of having hypertension (high blood pressure) a condition that is linked to a greater incidence of heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes. With the longer the time you take to fall asleep being linked to a higher risk of having high blood pressure.
Mind and mood disorders
It would come as no surprise to learn that a lack of sleep has been found to cause concentration lapses and memory issues. The issues however seem to increase with chronic insomnia being linked to an increased risk of developing mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Sleep loss is thought to lead to dysregulation of two hormones ghrelin and leptin, which stimulate appetite and satiety, Sleep loss leads to increased ghrelin and decreased leptin, which leads to an increase in appetite
Top 10 tips for improving sleep
- Stop drinking caffeinated beverages by 1PM
- Aim to set a routine bedtime that you can achieve each day
- Set a wake time for each day and get up when the alarm goes off
- Ensure you sleep in a darkened room
- Aim to get exposure to bright light during the day
- Switch off the television and computers at least one hour before bedtime – and do not use these in the bedroom
- Have a soak in a bath and use Epsom salts – if you are unable to bath then you could use Epsom salts as a foot soak as an alternative option
- Avoid naps in the day
- Read a calming novel or listen to a talking book before bed
- Eat kiwi fruit as a pre-bedtime snack or alternatively combine these in a smoothie with some yoghurt banana oats, kale and honey