The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of Sleep

Regardless of the reason that brings a client to therapy, sleep is often a frequent topic of discussion.  The amount and quality of sleep impacts people cognitively, emotionally and physically.

Optimal sleep for adults is a minimum of seven hours.  Sleep allows for restoration, rejuvenation and repair.  Good sleep gives the body time to do restorative work in the brain as well as in your digestive, cardiovascular and muscular systems.  Immunity is boosted by healthy sleep.  Focus, concentration and productivity are increased with proper rest.  Studies show an increase in anxiety, depression and anger in people with poor sleep and/or sleep problems.  

There are many ways to improve your sleep.  Here are several suggestions:

•Make a daily sleep schedule.  
•Create a good sleep environment in your bedroom – buy a new mattress and don’t take work with you when you get in the bed
•Try a weighted blanket, white noise machine or sleep app
•Switch from activating activities to calming ones as the evening progresses
•Avoid a big meal, caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime.  
•Put away your devices (all of them) an hour or so before bedtime.
•Practice a healthy bedtime ritual or routine such as a bath, listening to calming music or doing gentle yoga poses designed to prepare your mind and body for bedtime.

If you have anxiety at bedtime or when in the bed and trying to fall asleep, then using mindful breathing exercises or a body scan can help moderate the anxiety to allow you to fall asleep.

The pandemic put a spotlight on the issue of sleep for many people.  During this time, 50% of people surveyed reported worse sleep.  

Creating a good, healthy sleep routine and maintaining it is an excellent example of good self-care. Here are a few websites to consult for additional resources and information on improving your sleep:

National Sleep Foundation