Sleep Well Advice

women sleeping in bed

Thu 9 Jun 2022

Sleep! Ah yes! we all do it, mostly at night, sometimes in the day but we all have an opinion on it. More or less, less is more, but do we ever stop to ask why we really need it all?

So let's have a look into the reasons why we need sleep and what can happen to our bodies if we don't get enough.

There are lots of things that we don't know about sleep, why we dream and why we have sleep cycles, but what we can all agree on is when we have had an adequate amount of sleep we all feel mentally and physically refreshed.

Your brain sorts itself out
Even though your body is resting your brain is very much active. Studies have shown that the brain acts like a filing cabinet, processing and storing information from the things you’ve experienced during the day, in fact, studies have shown that the establishment of long term memory is often associated with this process!

The immune system gets to work!
When we sleep the immune system gets to work and a type of protein family known as cytokines help the body, particularly when we’re ill; and lack of sleep you can mean at the immune system won't be able to work properly.

Sleep and mental well-being
Chronic lack of sleep often leads to mood swings and increased levels of anxiety. Ensuring good, quality sleep is important to your mental well-being, whereas regular poor sleep has been linked to increased levels of diabetes and obesity.

Mini hibernation!
Studies have shown that the bodies metabolism reduces by energy consumption by about 10% during sleep time and it is thought that this is to conserve energy.  We have this in common with animals some of which hibernate during the winter months to conserve energy levels when food is scarce, as your local hedgehog can't pop down to the local Tesco's in order to replenish his energy! This overall reduction in the body's metabolism allows the body to properly repair, especially muscles when we have been active and exercising.

Oh baby!
We all know that kids (particularly babies) sleep a lot, and studies have shown that particularly in babies sleep is linked to the development and organisation of the brain. The body needs this time in order to do this most successfully.

Tick tock the body clock!
My body's natural sleep cycle is governed by the cycle of the sun, so when the sun goes down the body is naturally preparing for sleep however since the invention of the electric light bulb and now with laptops and screens and artificial lighting this is is interfering with the body's natural clock. In fact, Thomas Edison was quoted saying that sleep was an absurdity and not all needed! What we do know is that the amount of sleep required by our bodies varies from person to person, but it is widely accepted that between 6 and 8 hours of good quality sleep is needed to promote good physical and mental well-being.

Certainly, a lack of sleep and chronic lack of sleep can have serious consequences on our mental and physical well-being including loss of cognitive function mood swings for decision-making.

Sleeping with the dolphins!
We talked about the brain preparing for sleep and the body preparing for sleep, but what about animals that never seem to sleep? It is known that dolphins move seemingly continuously but one half of the brain is resting whilst the other half is cognitively active allowing it to swim at length!

All this talk of sleep is making me slee......
Being an active human is very demanding and whilst we all recognise that good sleep is linked to good mental and physical well-being, while a lack of sleep can have serious health implications. It is important to plan and prepare for sleep as much as possible.

We could all try to limit our on-screen time, and after a certain time in the evening, we could also limit the intake of caffeine. Try and relax after a certain hour rather than trying to burn that candle at both ends.

With this in mind hopefully, we will all consider and make positive steps in order to improve our sleep and recognise the importance of it.

Stay safe stay Active stay Positive Sleep well

Derby Active at Home is BACK! with free health and wellbeing information service.

Each week we will provide new home workouts with your Derby Active class instructors, offer information from our Wellbeing Advisors on nutrition and home exercise and share information with you from our fitness industry partners.

So keep motivated and we will help you to keep moving during the lockdown. 

Don’t forget to share your workout or activity with us on your centres Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page, we can’t wait to see you. #DerbyActive

Exercise safely 
Please remember to ensure you are safe and only take part in classes that are at your own ability level. If you have any injuries or health conditions please consult your doctor before taking part in any physical activity.