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Your health pension – Sleep

42 days to go

Sleep is one of the most important functions our bodies perform and need alongside diet and exercise as we spend a third of our life sleeping. The recommended number of hours each night is between seven and nine for adults although over the age of 60 we may need less sleep. Babies on the other hand can sleep for up to 18 hours a day. Sleep is a complex process that affects all aspects of our health. It restores our body when physically fatigued or stricken by illness or injury. During sleep our brains undertake housekeeping and library functions filing away the activities of the previous day. Sometimes these activities will feature in our dreams. To get the most out of it we need a good quality of sleep

Humans are the only animals that voluntarily put off sleep. In the short term, lack of sleep can affect our hormones and brain function. To do so persistently is damaging to our health as long-term lack of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system and the development of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. It can also lead to weight gain.

Your health pension advisor would enquire about your sleep and encourage you to optimise your chances of getting the right quantity and quality of it.

They might recommend any or all of the following:

• adopting a regular time to go to bed and wake up – we are creatures of habit and respond well to this
• not to eat a big or spicy meal and avoid caffeinated drinks too close to bedtime
• alcohol should also be avoided in excess as it disrupts sleep
• reduce screen time in the hour before bed or if you must use the computer then try using an app such as f.lux which adjusts the glow, reduces blue light and allows you to wind down
• relax with a warm bath or read a book
• don’t have the temperature of the bedroom too warm.
• make sure you have a comfortable bed and pillow

If you’ve not been sleeping well you might like to try one or more of these and maybe you too will be sleeping like a baby.

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