10 reasons why getting good-quality sleep is essential for your health

By HarperLees

Sleep is pivotal in maintaining good physical and mental health, which is why getting the right amount of high-quality sleep is not a “nice to have”, it’s essential to your overall wellbeing. Studies have shown that it can boost your mood, enhance your performance at work and help you stay physically healthier.

As March is the month of World Sleep Day 2023, read on to discover 10 great ways to improve the quality of your sleep. Before you do, let’s first look at why sleep is so good for you.

Getting enough sleep can boost your health, happiness and performance at work

When you fall asleep, your blood pressure and heart rate fall, which means poor sleep quality or not enough sleep could increase your risk of developing heart disease. According to Healthline, studies found that sleeping for less than seven hours a day increased the risk of death from heart disease by 13%.

It also reveals studies found that not getting enough quality sleep may lead to obesity for the following reasons:

  • The body is less able to respond to insulin
  • It can lead to an increased consumption of food, especially fatty, sweet, and salty foods
  • You’re more likely to feel tired, which could lead to reduced levels of physical activity.

Furthermore, not getting enough high-quality sleep can lead to problems focusing on tasks and reduce your ability to think clearly. This is because cognition and concentration can be reduced if you’re not getting enough sleep.

Alarmingly, Healthline reports that one study found that doctors with moderate, high, and very high sleep-related impairment were 54%, 96%, and 97% more likely to make clinical errors. As you can see, ensuring you get enough sleep could be essential to your health and happiness, as well as your ability to perform well at work.

So, with this in mind, let’s look at how you can improve the quality of your sleep.

1. Clear your mind in the evening

Developing and sticking to a pre-sleep routine could help you relax before bed, which can, in turn, improve your quality of sleep and could help treat insomnia. Your routine may include:

  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Reading a book
  • Meditating or deep breathing
  • Using visualisation.

Whatever you decide to include in your pre-sleep routine, the most important thing is to maintain it.

2. Establish a sleep schedule

Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours, although most people don’t need more than eight hours to be well-rested.

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep cycle.

3. Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Don’t go to bed feeling hungry or too full after a large meal, as it could keep you up. If you are having a heavy meal, make sure you don’t go to bed for at least two hours after you’ve finished eating.

4. Don’t drink alcohol

Alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle and reduce the length of time you’re in deep sleep. One reason for this is that alcohol can increase disrupted breathing during sleep, resulting in snoring and waking up during the night.

If you do have a drink, try to have it at least two hours before you go to bed.

5. Don’t consume caffeine late in the day

When it’s consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and could prevent your body from relaxing at night. According to Healthline, one study found that consuming caffeine up to six hours before going to bed could reduce sleep quality.

As caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for up to eight hours, you should typically avoid drinking large amounts of coffee after 4 pm, – especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping.

6. Create the right environment

Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet, as this could help you enjoy better quality sleep. Consider using earplugs to reduce noise and ensure you silence or switch off your mobile phone.

Additionally, avoid watching television in the bedroom, as this could lead to your brain being overstimulated, which may reduce your quality of sleep.

7. Manage worries

Lying awake because you are worrying about something will probably make the situation feel worse in the morning. One way to overcome this is to try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime, write them down, set them aside for the following day, or prioritise them for the next day.

8. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening

Blue light produced by electronic devices, such as smartphones and computers, could affect your circadian rhythm, resulting in your brain thinking it’s still daytime. This could reduce your body’s production of hormones such as melatonin, which help you relax.

Apps are available that block blue light on smartphones, including iPhones and Android models.

9. Reduce irregular or long daytime naps

While short power naps can be beneficial, sleeping for long periods during the day can be detrimental to your quality of sleep as it can confuse your internal clock, which means you then struggle to sleep at night.

That said, if you take regular daytime naps, research suggests that you probably won’t experience disrupted sleep.

10. Take a relaxing bath

A relaxing bath or shower could help you sleep better. Healthline reveals that studies found a bath or shower just before bedtime can improve sleep quality and help you fall asleep more quickly.

If you don’t want to take a full bath, bathing your feet in hot water may also help you relax and get better quality sleep.

Get in touch

We hope you found this blog about enjoying better quality sleep useful. As clients of HarperLees Financial Planning, you can relax at night in the knowledge that we are always here to help you rest easy about your finances.

That said, if you know someone who is losing sleep over their wealth, and may benefit from a conversation with us, please let us know, as we’d be delighted to help them. Please email info@harperlees.co.uk or call 01277 350560.