Now that we are in the darkest months of the year in the northern hemisphere, many of us are feeling the effects of sleep deprivation because we are sleeping the same number of hours as we do during the summer – and possibly this is even less than we actually need.
Aside from the natural world being different at this time of year, some of what disturbs our sleep is self-inflicted. We don’t allow ourselves adequate time to wind down in the evening, we take on or retain too much worrying and problem-solving, we gaze at bright screens well into the darkness hours and we often don’t ensure we have an environment that helps us get at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Sleep deprivation causes us to lose focus, concentration and memory. It causes ill-health and even hallucinations. It was a factor that contributed to the nuclear disasters in Chernobyl and Three Mile Island and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
One of the things I remind my clients about regularly is that we can’t borrow from sleep time. We need adequate sleep every day to function well, to be well and happy. When we ‘borrow’ from our sleep time to watch a late night film or do some work after the children are in bed, it’s not borrowing really because we can’t pay that time back. The best sleep habit is to sleep at the same time every night, from early evening to early morning, with at least 4-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep so that our brain can go through the sleep cycles it needs to, to process the day, rest and recover.
There are many tips for improving sleep and in the Resilience Hub this week I have given you three to work on that you may not have heard of before. Click here to go to your dashboard, or to sign up if you haven’t done that already.
I hope these tips help and I would love to hear from you if you have tried them!