Healthy sleep habits​

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Benefits of good quality sleep

  • Your body rebuilds muscles you’ve worn down during the day and cleans away harmful plaques and waste that have been produced in the brain. These vital processes keep your mind and body running properly. ​
  • Your mind also processes and responds to important emotions and experiences from the day and commits them to memory.​
  • Sleep is also essential to regulating your emotions. In fact, being sleep deprived for just one night can increase your emotional response to negative feelings by 60%.
  • One study found that getting only five hours per night for several nights in a row decreases mental performance to the same extent as drinking enough alcohol to have a blood alcohol content of 0.06.​
  • Sleep plays an important role in regulating your circadian rhythm (internal clock).

Sleep strategies

  • Eat wisely ​
  • Establish a sleep schedule​
  • Get enough safe sun exposure​
  • Avoid substances that hamper sleep​
  • Make your bedroom sleep-friendly​
  • Wind down before bed​
  • Don’t watch the clock​
  • Form a pre-sleep routine – go to bed to sleep, not for eating or watching television.
  • Try and settle down before going to sleep​
  • Avoid big meals before sleep and avoid difficult work that requires concentration
  • Having a warm milk drink can help as you go to bed
  • Separate yourself from screens –Looking at screens at night often involves concentration or stimulation … [giving] us poorer quality of sleep​

The white light emitted from most screens at night can also affect our hormones (for example, melatonin), which would normally be released in the brain to tell us it is night-time and therefore time to sleep. This disruption leads to ineffective sleep.

There are many apps that can assist in establishing a sleep routine, for example:

The online world​

Ask yourself … ‘is online time having a negative effect on my mood? Am I paying more attention to the world in my device than the world around me? Is time spent online affecting my interaction with others?’​

  • It is important to have an awareness of, and take responsibility for, your activities online and how these impact not just other aspects of your life, but other people as well.​
  • The best way to assess our online relationships is to look at the quality of the time we spend online, not just the amount of time.​
  • To avoid getting lost in the internet, make sure that offline activities are central to a weekly routine – schedule your fitness activities, social outings, etc. and make them non-negotiable.

End of Module questions​

  • In what ways do you think lack of sleep could impact you in the workplace?​
  • How many hours would you spend on-line or on your phone every day?​
  • Do you regularly have trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep? If yes, who could you talk to about that?

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