The importance of sleep for your health

We spend up to a third of our lives asleep and we all know what happens when we don’t get enough. But it’s not just a lack of focus and a short temper – prolonged sleep deprivation can have a worrying effect on your health.

Lack of sleep can; disrupt your immune system, cause weight gain, lead to depression and anxiety, increase your risk of diabetes, reduce your libido and increase your risk of heart disease.

We’ve all heard that we need eight hours sleep every night but this is just an average. The National Sleep Foundation’s recommendations for sleep at different stages of life are:   

Older adult65yrs + 7 – 8 hours
Adult 26 – 64yrs7 – 9 hours
Young adult 18 -25yrs7 -9 hours
Teenager 14 – 17yrs8 – 10 hours
School age 6 – 13yrs9 – 11 hours
Preschool 3 – 5yrs10 – 13 hours
Toddler 1 -2yrs11 – 14 hours
Infant 4 – 11 months12 – 15 hours
Newborn 0 – 3 months14 – 17 hours

So here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  1. Have a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at roughly the same time each day. This helps regulate your body clock and means you are less likely to have a sleepless night
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. Activities such as a relaxing bath or reading a book are ideal – and stay away from your phone for at least 30 minutes before bed 
  3. Exercise daily but not too close to bedtime. Too much activity before bed can leave you feeling energised and you may find it difficult to sleep
  4. Make sure your pillows and mattress are comfortable
  5. Evaluate your room, temperature, light and noise are all things that can disturb our sleep. Keeping the room cool and using  blackout blinds, eyeshades and earplugs can help
  6. Limit daytime naps – sorry

It might seem like simple and obvious stuff but you’d be surprised at how many of us don’t get enough sleep – and the difference it can make to our health. Pilates can help with relaxation as we mentioned in our last blog, to find out more just get in touch with one of the team.


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