Newcastle and Hunter Community Health

Good sleeping habits for improved health and wellbeing

For most of us, maintaining good sleeping habits can be difficult. But a good night’s rest is essential to improving your health and wellbeing.

While we might head to bed each night aiming to get a minimum of eight hours rest, it’s rare that this occurs. We lie awake thinking about work, plans for the next day or other stresses. Sometimes you might be trying hard to get to sleep, but your mind just won’t switch off.

A great night’s sleep is something we all want to achieve. By having a regular sleeping routine and developing good sleep habits you can improve all facets of your health.

According to the Sleep Foundation Australia, 33-45 per cent of adults are affected by poor sleeping habits.

That’s why we’ve compiled some of the key benefits of sleep and recommendations for good habits you should practice.

Why you need to practice good sleeping habits

It may seem obvious that good sleeping habits are important, but there are several hidden benefits. Sleep is important for your body as it aids in the repair and maintenance of vital bodily organs. For example, without proper sleep your body is unable to support healthy brain function or allocate the time needed to maintain good health.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, sleep also helps heal and repair your heart and blood vessels.

Good sleeping habits also help your immune system fight off common infections. Sleep deficiency negatively affects your immune system and keeps it from defending your body against harmful substances.

Your physical and mental health relies on you taking time to practice great sleep habits.

How to practice good sleeping habits

There are a number of strategies that can help you get a good night’s sleep. While they may not work for everyone, they’re easy to try. So, see what works for you!

  • Try and stick to a regular sleep schedule: A set bedtime isn’t just for kids. As your body has an internal clock, sticking to a regular time can help it adjust to your sleep schedule. Your body will then start to recognise that as the best time to wind down and start repairing itself

  • Keep devices and distractions out of your bedroom: While social media and television are how we often occupy our evenings, they’re extremely distracting. Screens and blue light can keep you awake at night and affect your sleeping habits. Try to put away your devices and switch off the television a minimum of 30 minutes before you go to bed.

  • Try to avoid napping in the evening: Good sleeping habits involve not napping late in the day. When we get home from work we might be desperate for a nap. Having a nap later in the day may leave you feeling refreshed but it could also keep you awake well into the night.

  • Spend the right amount of time in bed: According to Health Direct, the recommended amount of sleep for an adult is eight hours. However, any longer than eight hours can begin to affect your sleeping habits. Setting yourself up for the best way to sleep involves sticking to a routine. This means sleeping the same number of hours each night. This will also help your body recognise when it should be feeling tired and when it should be waking up.

  • Avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic drinks before bed: It’s a known fact that caffeine can keep you awake at night. While alcohol may appear to make you tired, consuming excessive amounts can affect your sleeping habits. Avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic drinks a minimum of two hours before bed will help develop better sleeping habits.

How our team can help with your sleep

If you’re returning home from a hospital visit and need to establish good sleeping habits, our team can help. Sleep is so important for recovery, and we want to aid in this process where we can. Our team of nurses and carers are available 24 hours a day. If you’re in need of domestic or post-hospital care services so you can focus on recovering, contact us today.

If you’re suffering from extremely poor sleeping habits, or insomnia, it is wise to contact your GP immediately.

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