Dream Big, Sleep Well: Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits in 2024

Happy 2024! This last month for many of us has been a busy one, full of preparation, celebration and late nights! It can be easy to neglect our sleep at this time with the late nights celebrating and waiting until midnight to welcome the new year.

As the new year begins, it’s an opportunity for a new you! This is the perfect time to focus on your well-being so this year can be the best it can be. Today marks “Festival of Sleep Day,” a reminder of the importance of sleep and relaxation. We know as shift workers this can be especially challenging, so in today’s blog, we have explored some tips with you in mind. Perhaps this could be a part of your New Year’s resolution for 2024!


Why is Sleep So Important?

Sleep and relaxation are our restorations from the day, it is how we recharge! It impacts our energy, immune system, and brain functions. If we don’t get enough sleep, these functions can be negatively affected. For instance, in the short term, this can impair things like our judgment, memory and our attention span, affecting our daily performance and in some circumstances, put us at risk. Long term effects of sleep deprivation can affect our immune system and make us more susceptible to certain diseases; there are even links between lack of sleep and weight gain!


Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

How much sleep we need varies from age group but on average adults should sleep a minimum of 7 hours per night. As an individual, you may find this is different for you as some factors can affect this. This blog from the Sleep Foundation contains a list of questions that can help you self-assess how much sleep you really need.


How Can You Ensure a Healthy Sleep Routine?

Studies have found by prioritising sleep and striving to improve its quality can greatly impact our quality of life. Our “sleep hygiene” refers to our habits and routine surrounding sleep and there has been lots of research surrounding this to ensure it can be the best it can be. Here are some tips we found from the research:


Have a Regular Sleep Schedule

If you can, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Your body likes routine and keeping a sleep routine will help regulate your bodies circadian rhythm, (your body’s natural clock).

This may be more challenging if you are a shift worker, so instead find this regularity by pre-planning time to sleep into your daily schedule, ensuring you still get the 7 hours. If you have repeated shifts at similar times, try and keep the times you sleep the same.


Consider Your Sleeping Environment!

Leave your bed for sleeping only. Try to avoid working from your bedroom so that your body continues to associate this space with rest. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet and avoid using blue light emitting devices before bed as this can negatively impact your sleep.


Avoid Caffeine for AtLeast 4-6 Hours Before Bed

Try and only have caffeine at the beginning of your shift or plan a cut off time for when not to have caffeine to ensure it doesn’t affect your sleep.


Establish a Sleep Routine

How do you wind down after work? It can be difficult after a busy shift to simply jump straight into bed and go straight to sleep. Establish a sleep routine to relax and prepare yourself for sleep; this could be getting into your PJs and doing your skincare, meditating, or reading a book, whatever you feel works for you!


Strategic Naps

There appears to be some dispute over whether napping is a good idea, but the general advice is to keep them short and sweet. 20-minute naps have been shown to be especially useful in counteracting the effects of sleep deprivation in shift workers.


As we welcome in 2024, let’s not overlook the invaluable gift of a good night’s sleep. By educating ourselves and incorporating these research-backed tips into our daily routines, we can enhance the quality of our sleep so we can reap the benefits for our health.


For more information and resources around sleep and establishing healthy sleep habits, visit the Sleep Foundation Website.


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