Well-being is the perfect alignment of body, mindset and lifestyle. Every physical and mental aspect of your day counts towards a healthier, stronger way of life, and one of the most vital components of this is the one thing that seems so simple. Sleep should take up a third of our lives but what impact do poor sleep habits really have on our well-being?
We’ve grown up hearing the soundbites from prominent figures displaying the bravado of limited sleep and may still hear people disparaging its importance today. Arnold Schwarzenegger was famously quoted as saying “If you want eight hours of the stuff then sleep faster”. Margaret Thatcher often said that she got by on just four hours a night and Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov even described sleep as “the nightly betrayal of reason, humanity and genius”.
Now more than ever we are self-quantifying, measuring our lifestyle choices with wearables and metrics that help us manage our busy lives and allow us to gain insights into how we perform and behave. However, most of the numbers being presented to us only show the output of our actions, so what about the input – recharging our bodies through sleep – and how much of it do we require?
In 2018 the world’s largest sleep study to date was conducted with a global sample of more than 10,000 people. It captured information about real-world sleep habits and how these habits impact the way we think, feel, and function. The results told a very different story from the sleep shunners quoted above!
Based on the analysis of its participants’ information and testing, the study identified the optimal amount of sleep for overall cognitive function to be between 7 and 8 hours a night. Sleepers within that window delivered the strongest performances on tests. Researchers also found that sleeping outside of that 7 to 8 hour window adversely affected reasoning and verbal skills as well as overall cognition. Surprisingly short-term memory, on the other hand, was largely unaffected by sleep amounts, according to the study findings.
Sleep is one our biggest positive inputs and without it our output would be severely hampered, so how do you ensure you can get the right amount of quality sleep and give your body the input it needs? Well, you can start with these easy tips:
- Eliminate all electrical devices from the bedroom to allow yourself to mentally wind down at the end of your day
- Invest in a good quality mattress and pillow to support and relax your body fully
- Avoid caffeine and energy drinks after lunchtime to enable your body to find its rhythm naturally with no artificial stimulation
- Finally, we would also advocate integrating meditation and mindfulness into your daily routine, to retain a calm and focused mind.
Sleep is an essential component of your daily routine to put you on the path to well-being. Try these tips and understand how your own sleep patterns perform, to achieve that vital daily recharge and rebalance.
Night night from the Coach team.