Are you allowing yourself enough time to sleep?

Several academic studies and our flow²thrive index provide a bleak picture of the quality of our sleep and therefore also the risk we’re putting on our health.

Around 80% of us are not getting enough of it, yet it’s crucial for our health, performance and survival. Poor sleep can result in e.g. hormonal imbalances, disrupted eating habits, mood swings and poor digestion, which over time, can lead to both physical and mental disorders.

There are many things that can impact our sleep, some might be difficult to control, but there is one thing most of us can control:

The time we make available to sleep.

We looked into our Oura sleep data this afternoon. This is what we found: a clear correlation between the time we’ve slept and our resting heart rate.

The less sleep, the higher the average resting heart rate.

RHR.jpg

Whilst we were at it, we also looked at heart rate variability (our body’s ability to adjust to adverse events, or stressors in our environment) and total sleep time.

Here, the less we’d slept, the lower the heart rate variability.

HRV.jpg

Thus, the less we’d slept, the less resilient our bodies had become and the greater the allostatic load (wellbeing risk) we’d be putting on our body.

However, it’s important to understand what drives what. It could also be that stress has caused reduced HRV and increased RHR, and as a result you’ve ended up having a night of poor sleep.

Going to bed late is often the simple reason for not sleeping enough. What can you do?

It’s quite simple, in theory. Go to bed early and at the same time every night. This is a habit most of us ignore and under-estimate the importance of but that we can easily control.

The interesting part is that once you get into a good sleep routine, you’ll find that you don’t need an alarm clock anymore. Your body will automatically wake up at the same time every morning and you will feel much better than after a short night sleep outside of your natural rhythm.

How much sleep do we actually need? The absolute number vary from person to person, but the vast majority of us need between 7 – 9 hours and as highlighted earlier, our data clearly illustrates the immediate effect on our body when we sleep less than 7 hours.

How many hours are you giving yourself to get a good night sleep?

Linda Jarnhamn