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Are you getting enough sleep?

Wondering how much sleep is the right amount? Or if a nap is beneficial or just pure lazy? We reveal some interesting facts about sleep in our latest health blog.

Are you a night owl? Do you stay awake into the early hours watching TV, skimming over emails, or checking social media?

Or do you prefer getting your head down earlier, void of distractions, and rising with the sun?

The way we sleep has a major effect on our health – both physically and mentally.

So if you regularly wake up feeling groggy, with a severe lack of focus, here’s why you should consider re-evaluating your sleep pattern, and the benefits it could have for your health.

Click here to find out three simple things you can do on a daily basis to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle

How poor sleep affects your health

According to the NHS website, ‘one in three of us suffers from poor sleep’.

And the article goes on to state how poor sleep can cause obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and that it shortens life expectancy.

Web MD states: Most adults need 7 to 9 hours a night for the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day.

It’s clear, then, that not everyone’s made equal, so it’s a case of establishing a pattern that’s right for you and sticking to it. Otherwise, according to Web MD, sleep deprivation can cause:

  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chances of becoming sick
  • Increase in perception of pain

How to establish a regular and healthy sleep pattern

Establishing a regular and healthy sleep pattern is the same as learning to play a musical instrument, or how to drive a car. It requires repetition and commitment.

Whether you want to get eight hours in and fall asleep at ten, or six will suffice and you opt for a midnight bedtime – consistency is the key. Here are six useful tips that can help you establish a regular sleeping pattern:

  • Shut down electric gadgets
  • Don’t hit the snooze button
  • Don’t eat a big meal, or go to bed hungry
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Avoid caffeine within 6 hours of going to bed
  • Try to fall asleep and wake up at the same time on a repeated basis

As well as establishing a regular sleeping pattern, napping could also work wonders. You heard that right – napping can be good for you! Here’s how…

Treat yourself to a nap

The Telegraph published research by Greek researchers which found that a ‘60 to 90 minute siesta can charge up the brain’s batteries as much as eight hours tucked up in bed.”

What’s more, the researchers found that napping could ‘reduce blood pressure and stave off heart attacks’.

So contrary to the conception that napping makes you lazy, it could, in fact, benefit your health.

On top of the research, there are plenty of examples of successful figures who incorporated napping into their day.

  • Thomas Edison – while the inventor only averaged around three to four hours of sleep each night, he took power-naps to balance out his schedule.
  • Leonardo da Vinci – the renaissance painter allegedly took 15-minute naps every four hours to recharge his creative focus.
  • Margaret Thatcher – the Iron Lady took an hour-long nap in the middle of each afternoon to sharpen her focus. This also balanced out the four hours of sleep she had each night.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger – even the man who won seven Mr Olympia titles and played The Terminator and Conan the Barbarian needs to recharge. He reportedly takes a peaceful nap in the middle of the afternoon.

Establishing a regular sleeping pattern is a solid step towards leading a healthy lifestyle. But adequate sleep isn’t the only thing that can protect your health…