Sleep is one of the fundamental drivers in life - alongside eating, drinking (water, not alcohol…) and reproduction - without it, we simply cannot survive. However, we’d mapped the structure of DNA and sent a man to the moon before scientists really understood some of the vital reasons why our bodies need it.
From the top down, sleep supports our ability to learn, store memories and heal from traumatic or difficult experiences. It ensures the immune system can re-arm itself to fight off future infections; and it plays various roles in keeping our metabolism, appetite and even gut microbiome in good check.
Are we getting enough though? Insights from our database show:
65% of our users get the ideal 7-9 hours of sleep nightly
However, 54% report the quality of their sleep is impacted by stress
And 23% have their sleep affected by use of technology and gadgets late at night
Our LiveSmart expert health coaches have put together a handy list you can share with your employees to help them improve their sleep quality and quantity:
Create a regular routine for sleeping and waking - and stick to it! - this supports your body’s inner clock (or circadian rhythm) to function optimally.
Incorporate relaxation exercises such as meditation or mindful breathing into your evening routine - this helps your brain enter a resting state in advance of sleep.
Set a timer on your phone or other devices to stop scrolling! This habit keeps your brain active and alert, meaning sleep takes longer to achieve. There are apps you can download straight to your phone to help you do this.
Avoid eating too close to bedtime, and avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine too. Caffeine binds to receptors in the brain that would usually detect chemicals that promote sleep; blocking them from responding. Alcohol meanwhile needs to be metabolised by the liver, which disrupts sleep cycles.
If you want to nerd out on the science of sleep, our coaches recommend ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker as a great place to learn more about sleep!
“When sleep is abundant, minds flourish. When it is deficient, they don't.” ― Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.