The Importance of Sleep

Don’t you hate people that can just close their eyes anywhere and kip? Well you do unless you’re one of them. It’s infuriating if you’re like me and need an ambient room temperature, the most comfortable pyjamas, total silence, and of course the most unachievable of the lot no worries. So many people have a love hate relationship with sleep but it is undeniably one of the most important biological necessities for mental and physical health.
If you doubt it please read ‘Why We Sleep: The New Science Of Sleep And Dreams’ by Matthew Walker. Our bodies repairs itself during sleep and our brain does too. Studies show that sleep deprivation may affect our serotonin, dopamine and adenosine levels all of which play a role in emotions and emotional well being. We know the DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for depression include a question about sleep- looking at whether the patient experiences insomnia or hypersomnia. So let’s start taking sleep seriously. Practising good sleep hygiene is hard but try- this includes no screen time before bed. No caffeine for a reasonable time before bed (tolerance varies for each individual). Also trying to go to sleep at the same time every night. Keep your bedroom dark, inviting and only for sleeping – I write this with irony as I fondly call my bed my ‘soft office’ as I type this on my bed surrounded by books and journal articles. I need to adjust my own sleep hygiene!