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Recovery: Sleep

Do you get enough sleep per night? The average adult should be getting 7-9 hours.

person sleeping next to alarm clock

If you were to consistently get less than this, it will result in sleep deprivation. 20% of the adult population are said to be sleep deprived. This can lead to a number of health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity due to sugar cravings, cancer, and heart failure. It can also cause brain fog and daytime fatigue which can affect your work and relationships.

New research also suggests that prolonged sleep deprivation can increase the risk of neurodegenerative problems such as Alzheimer's, dementia and Parkinson's.

A study carried out on physicians with a 24 hour shift pattern showed results of:

-Increased marital stress

-Increased family stress

-36% more medical errors

-2x more likely to be involved in an accident when driving home

-Decreased empathy towards patients

This shows the importance of making sleep a priority.

How to improve your sleep quality:

  1. Get on a regular sleep schedule and stick to it consistently. You can use your phone to help with this by setting a sleep goal to receive reminders of when to go to sleep to allow for this.

  2. Set up the ideal sleep environment by limiting any background noise and exposure to lights or screens. Where possible, avoid these at least 30 minutes before sleep to avoid brain stimulation. Keep the temperature of the room comfortable, ensure it's not too hot or cold.

  3. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake as these can cause disturbed sleep. The half-life of caffeine is 6 hours, so 12 hours after you've consumed a coffee, you still have a quarter of the caffeine in your system.

  4. Consider investing in a new mattress and/or pillow. They say you should change your mattress every 10 years. It's a worthwhile investment as they are very important for good quality sleep and maintaining good posture and reducing back pain.

To summarise, sleep is essential for basic functioning, recovery and good health. Adults should be sleeping 7-9 hours a night, any less than this for a prolonged period of time can lead to sleep deprivation, which results in health issues.


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