Here at Koala HQ, we have an unwritten (yet awesome) rule: if a job is going to take less than two minutes, do it immediately. Don’t let little things like replying to an email, or returning a call bog you down. It may seem simple, but it is one of the best tactics around to help ensure that you’re checking off a task before it even makes it to a to-do list. Reflecting on this practice got us thinking about other little tactics that might help make 2018 as productive and positive as possible.
Sleep is the oft underestimated third pillar of the triumvirate of good health: exercise, diet and rest. It should come as no surprise that we at Koala spend a lot of time thinking about sleep. From engineering the perfect mattress to drawing on customer feedback, Koala has spent thousands of hours researching sleep. And one thing that we’ve learned is that we need more of it – both in terms of quantity and quality. According to research, more than 40 percent of Aussies don’t get enough sleep, with the national average hovering around seven hours. A little over ten percent get less than six hours, which puts us at risk of fatigue on the roads or nodding off at our desks.
The three most crucial foundations of health, happiness and wellbeing are good nutrition, exercise – and plenty of deep, restful sleep. If you’ve been taking care to stay physically fit and eat a healthy diet, yet you still feel like you’re not reaping the rewards you had hoped for, it’s time to consider what might be having a negative impact on your quality and quantity of sleep.
Many people say laughter is the best medicine, but scientifically speaking, sleep is going to make more of an impact on building and maintaining good health.
There are many reasons why sleep is so important to wellbeing. Your body, mind and emotions all benefit from a restful night of high quality sleep.
Our hormones are like the body’s instant messaging system; they are responsible for everything from moods, to fertility, to immune system functions. Critical hormones are produced and regulated during sleep, so if this process is disrupted or compromised, the results can be very damaging to health.
Alarmingly, there’s also a correlation between sleep deprivation and poor diet, as those that are lacking sleep naturally gravitate towards sugary foods for a lift in energy. For example, inadequate sleep increases the production of ghrelin, the hormone that causes hunger, while suppressing leptin – which is responsible for making you feel full. As you can imagine, this can cause significant challenges to maintaining healthy weight.
Better sleep helps reduce cortisol levels, which in turn reduce the likelihood of heart problems and high blood pressure. The rate at which your cells repair themselves is also at its most intense during sleep, so the idea of ‘beauty sleep’ is more than just an idiom. Skin health deteriorates as a result of insufficient sleep, affecting your complexion and causing bags under your eyes, and the less time your facial muscles spend in a relaxed state, the more quickly you will develop frown lines.
One of the reasons people who are well-rested have more stable moods is directly related to their hormonal balance, which is improved by adequate sleep. But the emotional benefits go deeper than this: the simple matter of not feeling tired all day contributes to a sense of calmness and patience. Good sleep is associated with greater happiness and empathy, which both work to ensure stronger and more rewarding relationships.
Studies have shown that adequate quantities of deep, restorative slumber help the brain consolidate learning and improve memory and recall, as well as contributing to heightened alertness and faster reaction times. From a more self-reflective angle, as you begin to examine and think about the factors affecting your sleep, you will naturally also develop a deeper understanding of yourself and a more profound insight into the forces that shape your life.
Sleep has the ability to provide myriad benefits to your life. As you commit to your new year’s resolutions, why not add better sleep to the list?