Why sleep is crucial for overall health and wellbeing

woman sleeping

Sleep by Wg Cdr Sharon McMillan (SO1  Wellbeing & Resilience)

Sleep is a vital and crucial indicator of overall health and wellbeing and everyone should aim for between seven and nine hours a night of good quality sleep.  

Sleep hygiene is “behaviours that one can do to help promote good sleep using behavioural interventions”.  Sleep is important for your health, wellbeing and happiness and is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing.

When you sleep better, you feel better.  It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information.  Obtaining healthy sleep is important for both physical (especially for the immune system) and mental health. It can also improve productivity and overall quality of life.

Everyone, from children to older adults, can benefit from practicing good sleep habits.  Frequent sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness are the most telling signs of poor sleep hygiene. In addition, if you’re taking too long to fall asleep, you should consider evaluating your sleep routine and revising your bedtime habits. Just a few simple changes can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and night spent tossing and turning.

The NHS and Every Mind Matters websites have dedicated advice pages. For those who need more personalised support , visit SleepFoundation.org. In addition, if you  have taken up a Headspace membership, which is now available free, through the RAF Benevolent Fund, there are tips on sleep hygiene and tools and techniques to help you relax the mind and body.

The Mental Health Foundation has also produced a guide called “How to sleep better” which is downloadable.

The NHS has also produced a self help guide around sleeping problems.

Further information

As well as the current Coronavirus advice and guidance, the RAF FF’s website provides a good reference section on all things health-related. You can also sign up to our (free) weekly eBulletin and/or quarterly Envoy magazine to keep yourself up to date generally with updates and information on new initiatives as they go live. Image

Health and Wellbeing themed image of two people sitting on the top of a mountain with their feet crossed, looking out across an amazing view

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