Sleep is the mysterious shift in consciousness that our bodies require every day. It’s vital for our health and wellbeing and not only do we function less well when we don’t get enough quality sleep, but it can lead to long-term health problems such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity etc. That’s why we need to do all that we can to ensure that we enjoy quality sleep and deal with any sleep problems.
The sleep council website is a great place to start for advice and support regarding your current sleep issues.www.sleepcouncil.org.uk
Check out their ‘Good-Night Guide’ which goes through 7 practical steps to a good night’s sleep, including considerations about your bedroom, your lifestyle, stress and worry, diet, exercise, relaxation and other therapies, and hormonal balance.
The recommended sleep duration for an adult is between 7 & 9 hours per night for optimal physical and mental health. Studies show that if we get less than this per night, we tend to experience an imbalance of our metabolic signals (increased ghrelin, decreased leptin etc) and unhealthy behavioural changes such as decreased physical activity, increased snacking, seeking sugary and fatty food the following day.
A stressful lifestyle can keep cortisol levels high and cause sleeplessness.
Hormonal fluctuations in the years before menopause can cause disturbed sleep, as can low progesterone levels, and an overactive thyroid. So do check with your GP if you feel this is relevant to you.