The importance of sleep is well-documented, so it might seem surprising that only 1 in 3 of us suffer from poor sleep. So what can we do to get more of the good stuff?
Dreaming of a good night's sleep?
Ah sleep - an opportunity to relax, recharge and refresh, and to forget any troubles and drift happily into the land of nod...
Research indicates that sleep boosts our immunity, supports in maintaining a healthy weight, prevents diabetes and even wards off heart disease. Sleep is also fantastic in improving our wellbeing; it can improve our mood, reduce the potential for anxiety and in turn help us to be more positive, productive and peaceful.
Given all the positives, research still found that only 36% of UK adults struggle to get to sleep at least once on a weekly basis, of working adults get enough sleep to awaken refreshed for the day ahead.
Obviously we all have the occasional late night with limited sleep. We might find ourselves watching 'just one more episode' of our favourite Netflix show, catching up on a few last minute emails, caring for a dependant or looking after little ones who don't care that it's 2/ 3 or 4am!
The challenges, however, lie when the 'occasional' becomes the 'norm', and a regular lack of sleep starts having a significant impact on our wellbeing, especially when we're trying to balance family and personal lives with work.
In the short term, this can often leave us feeling short-tempered, reaching for chocolate (in the hope of revival) and struggling to concentrate. In the long term, it can also have an impact on our quality, performance and productivity both at home and at work - leaving us feeling tired and burned out.
In a world which is constantly changing, with new challenges every day, increasing pressures and the demands of a busy life, sleep is an important factor and major source of the ability to face these obstacles with resilience.
Resilience is that ineffable quality which enables certain people to adapt to stressful situations and bounce back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them, resilient individuals can adjust, rise from the ashes and quickly recover.
The reality is we all face stress at certain times in both our personal and professional lives, and it's important to recognise that a certain level of this is normal. In fact, a small amount of pressure is healthy, as it helps us strive for excellence, create goals and objectives, and reach our potential as individuals and teams.
But as sleeping and resilience work hand-in-hand, additional hours in the land of nod can help wellbeing increase - and enable us to be healthier, more committed, engaged and productive. This in turn starts building a virtuous circle that extends and impacts other aspects of our wider wellbeing - from job satisfaction and financial matters to our community.
So what are we waiting for? If we can understand the 'why', we can work out the 'how'. While there may be factors outside our control, there are a few things you can do to help get a great night's sleep, including:
In addition to preparing for a good night's sleep, two simple techniques can also really help to transform your thoughts and build resilience.
Look at the Positives
Manage the Worry
Bright Horizons Work+Family Content Team