Sleep plays an important role in the healthiness of the body. When the body doesn’t get quality sleep, it will not function properly. Understanding sleep, the power of it and how to get as much high-quality sleep as possible is one of the healthiest things we can do.
Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, and the inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. Sleep timing is controlled by the circadian clock, and in humans, to some extent by willed behavior.
Sleep is restorative, and without it we are not able to work, learn, create, and communicate at our highest level. With time, lack of sleep can lead to mental and physical breakdown.
Sleep has also been shown to be linked to the immune system. Sleep loss can impair our immune function.
When we sleep, our metabolic rates reduce and free radical production is decreased, allowing restorative processes to take over. Sleep supports higher-level cognition functions such as decision-making, reasoning and memory. Hence why its hard to make decisions when we are sleepy.
Everyone experiences trouble sleeping from time to time but problems may occur when regular disturbances happen frequently and these can begin to affect your daily life.
· Fatigue & lethargy
· Foggy mind
· Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
· Concentration and memory problems
· Difficulty making decisions
· Reduced immunity
· Frequent colds and infections
· Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, & other health problems
· Lack of motivation
· Inability to cope with stress
· Moodiness and irritability
· Impaired motor skills & increased risk of accidents
How much sleep do you need?
Though the recommended daily sleep is 8 hours, there is no system or protocol to how many hours of sleep we should get. The best way to evaluate it is to monitor how we feel throughout the day. If energy is low, memory is poor, and we don’t feel alert, then chances are we need more sleep.
How to sleep better?
Improve your sleeping habits with these sleep promoting techniques and considerations that can be easily integrated into your evening routine.
1. Improve nutrition and Exercise Habits. Good nutrition habits can drastically improve sleep quality, particularly in the last hours before bed. Consider the following:
· Avoid eating large meals before bed
· Avoid drinking too much liquid
· Avoid caffeine in the latter part of the day
· Avoid alcohol before bed
· Exercise daily
2. Reduce Stress & Relax. Managing stressors and using pre-bed relaxation techniques can be effective in aiding a better nights sleep. Try these techniques:
· Write down any problems or issues on paper
· Conduct some deep breathing techniques
· Use meditation and relaxation techniques
· Avoid any stressing tasks or thoughts before bed
· Keep the bedroom clean and tidy
· Have a hot shower or bath
· Do something you enjoy before bed
· No cells phones at least 30 minutes before bedtime
3. Keep the bedroom setup for sleep. Ensuring the bedroom is optimized for relaxing, unwinding and sleeping is essential. Get your bedroom ready:
· Eliminate noises that may disturb your sleep
· Keep bedroom at the right temperature
· Remove all electronic equipment
· Ensure the room is dark enough
· Ensure your bed is comfortable enough
The quality of the sleep we get every night is beneficial to how the body performs daily. If sleeping is a challenge, try incorporating some of the techniques off this list, and see if it helps the body quality of sleep improve.