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Evidence shows good sleep ‘can change quality of life’

Kirsten's article HawkesBayToday Jul2015

Hawke’s Bay TODAY
11 July 2015

Evidence shows good sleep 'can change quality of life'

You might be doing “dry July” or going sugar-free for a healthier life, but it is all for nothing without a good night’s sleep, says naturopathic sleep specialist Kirsten Taylor.
“The ideal amount of sleep is eight hours. I know people out there say you don’t need that much sleep but it’s just not true.

“Just because people like Tom Ford can change the fashion world on three hours a night doesn’t mean that’s a benchmark for success.”

Ms Taylor was in Hawke’s Bay this week imparting tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.

“Really, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear, we need to get eight hours of quality sleep a night. The sliding scale is between 7 and 10. It’s up to us to work out where on that spectrum we sit, based on our lifestyle. Anything less than six definitely increases risk of heart attack, mental-health issues, weight gain and other problems.”

In an increasingly digital world, she is telling people to set an alarm, not just to wake up in the morning, but to go to bed at night.

“I have my phone and laptop next to my bed too. Like everybody else I’m a modern girl and we all have demands of our social life like checking emails. It’s no problem as long as it’s not interfering with your sleep.

“But if you’re easily excited by what’s happening or you’re reactive to stress, then checking your emails last thing at night is not going to help you. If you can’t wind down naturally, then you need to avoid screens or technology for up to an hour and a half before sleep.”

Ms Taylor also had advice for a good winter night’s sleep. She said the ideal temperature for a comfortable sleep was about 18.5C. But because some of us feel the cold more than others, we should experiment to find how many blankets or thermals suit us best.

“So it is about getting to know our body and being conscious of our own unique experience. Sleep is awesome. Let’s value it. It can change our entire quality of life.”