On (Everyday) Emotional & Mental Fitness

Getting some zzzz’s..

My Dad had a mantra “an hour before midnight is better than 3 hours sleep in the morning” – We really didn’t believe him, as kids it drove us mad! We’d plead to stay late to watch “Get Smart” or “The Avengers”. Ironic that I am now on the same page!! Lack of nighttime sleep can lead to more than just a sluggish start in the morning. Over time, it may be causing more damage than we realize!

Missing out on sleep can affect everything from behaviour to heart health, depending on our age. As we age sleep loss can contribute to a variety of health complications. Increasing our risk of obesity, diabetes, depression, blood pressure and heart problems.

In later adulthood sleep-related disorders are more likely, insomnia or sleep apnea are very likely to occur, and for men an enlarged prostate can mean frequent bathroom visits, interrupting night-time sleep.

In women, biological changes like menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can determine how well we sleep and cause fatigue.

Studies show that we often pay for lack of sleep in later life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. What’s best depends on you. Less than seven hours leads to sleep deprivation.

Ways to improve the quality of our sleep might be:

  • Establish a regular bedtime routine
  • No intense exercise up to 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Dim lighting and low noise levels in the nighttime routine will help.
  • Avoid electronics right before bed. The blue light can make sleep elusive. No smart phone, tablet, laptop etc.
  • Sleep is essential for muscle repair, stronger memory, regulating hormones responsible for growth, ability to manage emotions, appetite and much more.
  • Sleep time is when the body restores itself, repairs and gives energy. Healthy sleeping habits will stand to us over the years.

And so… Is an hours sleep before midnight better than 3 hours in the morning?

For many – it’s a terrible dilemma, you’ll often hear people saying they do their best work in the wee hours, rightly so, we’re more creative when we’re tired, and often trade valuable sleep for that ability to think laterally and therefore more creativity. As long as we understand we are giving up restorative sleep in favour of the creative, we might be comfortable with making that choice. Or perhaps we might make the choice to have different weekend and weekday sleep routine?

Daily care of our emotional/mental health is as necessary as daily care of our physical health; GP’s expect to hear about both.

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