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Health
Awareness

World Sleep day

World Sleep Day

15 March

Sleep is not just good for getting rest or downtime. We need it as much as we need air to breathe, as it controls all the key functions in our body.

If you struggle to fall or stay asleep, it’s time
to set up a smart sleep routine – it’ll boost your day-to-day energy and improve your
overall health.

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Why do we need sleep?

Getting a good 7 - 9 hours of sleep improves your concentration, memory and overall mental health. It also lowers your risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure (BP), diabetes, and other diseases.

A lack of sleep can weaken your immune system and make it hard for your body to fight off diseases and infections. That’s why doctors recommend we get bed rest when we’re sick.

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Ever wondered what happens to your body while you’re asleep? This much-needed break is there to heal your body - to build new cells, repair damage, and keep your body’s key functions in tip-top shape.

Benefits of quality sleep

- Better brain function

- Restored and renewed cells

- Better mental health

- Better hormone regulation

- Better weight control

- Improved insulin function

- Stronger immune system

- Better heart health

- Lower risk of chronic conditions

- Anti-ageing

Can’t sleep? 
Here are some causes

If you’re waking up a lot at night or your partner’s fed up with your snoring, there could be quite a few reasons - from sleep apnoea to stress, pain flare-ups from arthritis to frequent toilet trips because of diabetes.

All these night-time disturbances can cause long-term sleep issues if left untreated. So, chat to a nurse on the Unu app if you think you’re at risk, and get it sorted.

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Keeping our rhythm

Not getting enough exercise and sunlight can also make it harder for you to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get healing deep sleep. This is linked to what we call your circadian rhythm.

This is your 24-hour body ‘clock’ - the sleep-wake pattern that controls your body’s main functions. It’s affected by light and darkness, 
and other factors that help your body prepare 
for sleep or waking.

Blue light from screens disturbs this rhythm 
and impacts your sleep badly. So does working late night shifts, travelling to different time zones, certain meds, mental health issues, and an unhealthy lifestyle.

But there’s a lot you can do to recover your sleep rhythm!

How to sleep tight through the night

Set up a daily routine: this will reset your circadian rhythm, and your body will settle
into the right sleep and wake times.

Start each day by stepping into sunlight. Just 10 minutes spent sipping your cup of tea 
in the sunshine can help set up your body clock each day.

Try not to nap during the day, and if you do, for no more than 20 minutes.

Try to build 10 - 30 minutes of cardio exercise into your day - get your heart rate up!

Don’t eat or drink anything 2-3 hours before bedtime - so no late night snacking or your body will spend the night digesting instead of resting!

Make sure you have little to no screen time (laptop, tv, phone) 2-3 hours before bedtime. Stop the scrolling and read a book or magazine instead.

Create a healthy sleep space: Wash your bed linen often. Try not to overheat your bedroom. Never sleep with the light on - if you have to, use a red light bulb.

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Avoid alcohol & stimulants: Alcohol doesn’t give you deep sleep - it dehydrates your body so you’re forced to wake up to drink water or go to the toilet.

Don’t drink caffeine-rich coffee, black tea & energy drinks or high-sugar sodas after 2 pm.

Relax before you sleep. Meditate, do yoga, or have a hot shower or bath to relax 
- you deserve it!

Remember that sleep is not a guilty pleasure but is essential for your health and well-being.

Still not sure how to sort out those ZZZZs? Chat to a nurse on the Unu app for help with setting up a healthy sleep routine.