WHY SLEEP IS SO IMPORTANT!
Sleep is absolutely essential to our overall health & well-being.
It allows our body time to rest & recuperate. It helps keep our immune system strong & resilient, & by working on the whole body it keeps our vital organs & blood vessels functioning optimally. Sleep also helps regulate many important functions such as weight, appetite, mood, as well as daytime activities such as memory, attention span, concentration, learning capacity.
In this current Covid-19 climate it is more important than ever to ensure you’re getting quality sleep in order to support the immune system & fight off infections & illnesses.
The all-important recharging process involved in sleep produces protein called cytokines. These cytokines stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection & trauma. This helps your immune system to fight off infections when hey occur. Poor quality sleep does not allow the body to produce or release this protein, which could then weaken the immune system. Sleep will not necessarily prevent us from falling ill, but not enough sleep may significantly worsen our immune system, leaving us more susceptible to infections such as the cold, flu or Covid-19.
For most, the recommended amount of sleep is 7-8 hours of good quality sleep. This is especially important in older people, as they can be more vulnerable to infections & illnesses.
Alongside the social-distancing, personal/hand hygiene & travel restrictions, getting a good night’s sleep is something we can all do to support our immune systems during the Covid-19 crisis.
Some general tips for getting a good night’s sleep include:
· Ensure you rest in a dark, quiet room that is not too hot or too cold.
· Assess the quality of your mattress, pillow & bedding
· Avoid consuming stimulants at least 2 hours before bed, such as coffee, tea, soft-drinks.
· Avoid stimulating activities at least 1 hour prior to bed, such as vigorous exercise, excessive alcohol, computer games, or being in a brightly lit environment.
· Switch off all screen devices 1-2 hours prior to bed, as the blue light of computer screens can reduce levels of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone.
· Develop a sleep-routine where you go to bed at the same time each night so that the body’s internal clock & hormones are working optimally.
· Develop a relaxing sleep ritual which many include a warm drink, a warm bath, meditation, quiet reading etc.
· Exercising just 30 minutes a day can help you to get a good night’s sleep, & further boost your immune system.
· Take care of your body’s physical demands by receiving regular Osteopath treatments. This can help maintain a healthy body in order to support a healthy immune system.
By our Osteopath Dr. Anne-Marie Noble.
Anne-Marie is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays