09 Dec 2016 The Often Ignored Secret Power Of Sleep
On 7 September 2016, the Daily Express posted an article on tennis player Andy Murray. Murray had just won a crucial match in the US Open and had put his win down to a ‘good night’s sleep’.
Simple but true. The first line of the article stated ‘Rest is a rare commodity during the US Open’. I agree – I’m sure it is. These players push their bodies and minds to the absolute limits with punishing schedules. But sadly it does not just apply to players in the US Open. It applies to many of us now. Our lives are so busy that we are not prioritising sleep. We may schedule our whole daily routines – alarm to get up, time for the gym or a run, time to have dinner but I believe it is rare for adults to have a set ‘bedtime’. As children we probably had a ‘bedtime’. If you have children now, they probably have a ‘bedtime’. So, if we know enough that we send our children to bed at a reasonable hour each night, why do we not treat ourselves with the same attitude?
We send our children to bed early because we know it’s important that they rest, that their minds and bodies rest after a long day at school. We know that if they don’t get enough sleep they will be tired, cranky and moody the next day, their grades could start to fall, they could look tired with dark circles under their eyes and they could get sick more as their immunity drops. We know all this and yet we do not think the same applies to us as adults. If anything, it’s even more important. Our bodies are less responsive, our systems are slower, and we take longer to recover than children. Be honest – isn’t it harder to recover now after a couple of late nights than when you were younger?
How would it feel if you set yourself a ‘bedtime’? That you agreed with yourself that you want to reap the full benefits of a good night’s sleep. And, there are many benefits:
– looking younger and more attractive as skin texture improves, no dark circles or red eyes
– feeling energised and motivated
– less headaches or daytime tiredness
– improved focus and concentration, leading to better decision making
– you get to keep your figure as you will no longer crave sugary foods to sustain you during the day
– improved immunity to less colds and stomach bugs
The long term benefits are avoiding diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Research has now related chronic lack of sleep to a number of life threatening illnesses.
If we are thinking long-term health and vitality, we don’t have to be an elite athlete to enjoy it. Sleep is a secret power of healing and recovery that we can all harness. And it’s totally free! You just need to commit to it.
Go on, grab your PJ’s and head off to the duvet now.