Why is sleep important?

We all know how difficult it is to function without adequate sleep. It can leave you feeling moody, sluggish and irritable. Which is not the best state of mind for starting the day. 

It’s reported that we need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. But why is sleep important?

Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, sleep is essential for survival. Without sleep, we would simply be unable to function. 

Interestingly, scientists still don’t know exactly why sleep is so vital. But researchers do agree sleep is important for:

  • Repairing and growing cells. This is why babies and children need to sleep more than adults.
  • Processing and organising memories from the day. This is a possible reason for why we dream. 
  • Helping to boost the immune system. This is why we tend to sleep more when we are ill. 
  • Maintaining your health. This is essential for supporting your mental and physical wellbeing.

How do you know if you are getting enough sleep?

We might sacrifice sleep to get up early for work, or to finish a series on Netflix. Hey, we’ve all been there! But regularly missing out on sleep time can negatively impact your health. 

If you don’t wake up feeling refreshed and revitalised then you either aren’t sleeping for long enough or you aren’t getting good quality sleep. Do you immediately hit the snooze and roll back into bed? Or do you wake feeling rested and excited about your day?

Chances are, sleep might not be high up on your list of priorities. Or maybe you really struggle to nod off at night. 

Some people find it difficult to sleep because:

  • They are suffering from an illness
  • They have a chronic medical condition
  • They are stressed or anxious
  • They have depression
  • They have a sleep disorder

If this is the case, there are things you can do to help you fall asleep and dream peacefully. If you are feeling fatigued and forgetful during the day, you might be suffering as a result of poor sleep hygiene. 

What is poor sleep hygiene?

Poor sleep hygiene means you don’t experience restful sleep. You might find it tricky to fall asleep or wake up regularly during the night. The sleeping environment and your routine can both impact your quality of sleep. When your sleep hygiene is poor, you won’t be able to perform at your peak. 

How to improve your sleep hygiene

There are various ways you can kick your bad sleeping habits. These include changing your sleep environment and your routines. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to help you catch more zzz’s.

Stick to a schedule

Creating a sleep schedule is an easy way to make sure you get enough time with your head on the pillow. Making sure you stick to the schedule night after night might be trickier. 

Try to train yourself to go to bed at an appropriate time each night. Set your alarm for the same time each morning. This consistency will gradually encourage your body to rest between these hours. Yes, this does mean switching off auto-play.

Don’t use tobacco

When you smoke, it is significantly more difficult to fall asleep. This is because nicotine is a stimulant. Scientific studies have discovered a link between exposure to tobacco smoke and poor sleep quality

Quitting smoking can dramatically improve your sleep. If you have a nicotine addiction stopping smoking can be one of the most difficult things you will ever do. We’ve got your back with plenty of tips to help you quit quicker.

Avoid large meals and caffeine

Eating a lot of food before bed means your stomach will be focused on digesting rather than resting. It can lead to disturbed sleep as your body processes the food. 

Caffeine is a stimulant, which means if you consume it before bed, your body is told to wake up instead. Avoid caffeine based drinks during the afternoon and evening. Drinking coffee later on in the day can leave you feeling totally wired and unable to relax. 

Exercise during the day

When you are physically active during the day, you will find it easier to fall asleep at night. Research shows that exercise can improve sleep quality. People who get a moderate level of aerobic exercise have a deeper sleep.

If you are in the mood, a little night-time ‘bedroom exercise’ (you know what we mean) can also help you relax before sleep. 

Switch off the tech

We know how tempting it can be to scroll Insta whilst lying in bed. But looking at screens before bed can seriously damage your sleep quality. The blue light suppresses the production of melatonin. That’s the hormone we need to tell our brains it’s time for bed. 

Be brave and practice switching off screens an hour before bed. This will give your body a chance to create the melatonin needed to send you to sleep. 

Get the environment right

Your bedroom should be a haven of tranquillity. Make sure the temperature is cool, that you have comfortable bedding and the room is dark and quiet. Another tip for creating a relaxing atmosphere is to use essential oils

How can essential oils affect sleep?

When it comes to setting the right mood for sleep, the scent of essential oils is the way to go. Not only do they smell amazing, they can positively benefit your sleep hygiene too. Aromatherapy uses these essential oils to promote wellbeing. 

Aromatherapy to help you sleep

The best oils to promote relaxation are:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Valerian
  • Ylang ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Sandalwood

You could even try blending a few of these oils together to create the perfect scent for you. Whatever it takes to help you feel calm and relaxed has got to be good. 

How to use aromatherapy to help you sleep

There are various ways to use aromatherapy to help you sleep. The most popular way is inhalation with a diffuser.

Use a room diffuser

A room diffuser is a relaxing addition to the bedroom. They work by releasing essential oils into the air. When you are in need of a little help to get to sleep, inhaling the scents of essential oils can relax and soothe you. When your room is filled with calming aromas, it is easier to drift into a state of deep relaxation before sleep.

Use a personal diffuser

A personal aromatherapy diffuser is a great tool for transporting you to dreamland. Using essential oils in this way means they are absorbed by your body almost instantly. The beneficial blends we use in a Ripple+ diffuser are specially selected for their beneficial properties. To help improve your sleep, choose one of these products:

  • The ripple+ Relax - This diffuser contains chamomile flower extracts and lemon balm. These are proven to help calm and soothe. You will feel chilled out and relaxed helping you drift off into a peaceful paradise.
  • The ripple+ Dream - This diffuser contains valerian flower extracts. Valerian is a traditional remedy for the treatment of insomnia. Jujube seed is also used as a sleep aid. So this ripple+ is a great choice for promoting a restful night’s sleep.

How does stress affect sleep?

Feeling stressed or anxious is common in today’s fast-paced society. Throw in the impact of stressful events and your chances of sleeping well aren’t great. If you are expecting an exam, driving test or job interview, falling asleep might feel impossible. 

Stress is a common cause of sleep deprivation. Not getting enough quality sleep over long periods negatively impacts health and wellbeing. To help stop your thoughts racing, you could try mindful deep breathing, meditation or aromatherapy. 

Final thoughts

If it isn’t already, you need to make sleep a top priority! Remember to listen to your body. This will help you learn what times you are most active and relaxed. You can then create a routine that suits you and your lifestyle. 

If you haven’t experienced the relaxing benefits of aromatherapy yet, grab yourself one of the recommended essential oils and build it into your bedtime routine. Your body and mind will definitely appreciate it and you can live life in a state of awakened wellbeing!