I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of sleep recently. Mainly because, compared to what it used to be, the quality of my sleep is poor. I used to feel very grateful that I slept so well, when I was often hearing from clients about how sleep problems were affecting their lives.
Obviously having a baby is a major disruption to one’s night time rest, but my baby is now regularly sleeping through the night, so I should be too. Not so, however, I seem to be waking in the night and generally feeling that my sleep is not as deep as it used to be.
Sleep is a vital function of the human body, necessary for all the repair and recharge that needs to happen after a day of activity. Many elite athletes recognise this, and you will now find ‘sleep pods’ in the training grounds of some premier league football teams, so that their players can have an extra snooze during the day to give themselves the best chance of performing at their optimum. I think to overlook the importance of sleep, in any lifestyle, is an oversight, so good on the football teams and their sleep pods. How can a body be expected to perform to the best of it’s ability if it’s not had enough time to rest? When muscles, nerves and blood vessels have been pushed to their limits, they just won’t work as well if they’ve not had enough time to rebuild and refuel.
At the other end of the scale, someone like me who is not doing strenuous physical activity for most of the day, still needs a decent quality sleep to be as healthy as possible. Every system in the body has repairs to do whilst we sleep, and if this is repeatedly curtailed, there will undoubtedly be consequences. I know of many people that work long hours and get home late, meaning that they’re sleeping and relaxation time is reduced; this is a real shame, as I believe this will erode their health over a period of time. Times have changed, and work doesn’t finish at 5pm, home for tea by 6pm. Anyway, I digress.
So what am I going to do about my sleep issues? Well, I’m starting by cutting out caffeine after midday. I had this policy years ago as drinking tea in the afternoon used to keep me awake at night (Really? How extraordinary!), but caffeinated tea has crept its way into my afternoons and evenings, so this seems a logical place to start. My fear is, however, that now I’m a mother, I may never sleep well again. Let’s see how it goes…