Did you know that you spend about a third of your lifetime sleeping while a cat spends two thirds? Sleep is so important that its deprivation could kill you faster than being deprived of food. In fact, when you sleep well, you enjoy improved health and stamina. Additionally, worn out body cells are repaired optimally during sleep.
Your mind is also cleared better after a nap. Have you ever heard of the phrase “sleep over it?” It does work. Your brain’s activity is at peak while you sleep. The cells are busy storing information for the day to create room for new info. The brain also reaches out to your stored memories as you sleep, and when you wake up, you’ll have a lot of inspiring ideas to fuel your new day.
- What Is Proper Sleep?
- What Causes Lack of Sleep?
- Tips to Sleep through the Night
- The Importance of Quality Sleep
- In Conclusion
What Is Proper Sleep?
Sleep that lasts between 7-8 hours, without excessive movements or waking up, could be said to constitute proper sleep. Please keep in mind that everybody has different sleep needs – if you find yourself sleeping more or less than the average, that could be fine. Discuss your sleep habits with your doctor to see if there is any underlying issue that is causing a need for drastically more or drastically less sleep.
What Causes Lack of Sleep?
- Medical problems such as obstructive sleep apnea, hormonal fluctuations, and anxiety have been proven to contribute to sleep deprivation.
- Inconsistent sleep patterns. When the brain is not accustomed to particular bedtime, sleeping through the night becomes hard.
- Some people due to commitments such as work shifts or breastfeeding in mothers have to compromise on quality sleep to fulfill their duties.
- Attitude. Others, especially teenagers, intentionally deprive themselves of sleep because they don’t regard it as important. Some kids stay up past midnight just to watch movies or chat with their friends.
- Depression. When we worry too much about past or future events, we end up overwhelming ourselves. Stress builds up, and the result is poor quality sleep. This is one of the leading causes of insomnia, and if unguarded, the effects can be more devastating.
Tips to Sleep through the Night
Due to various reasons such as irregular sleep patterns or health complications as discussed above, some people find it quite a task sleeping through the night. Some have even resorted to sleeping pills to try and curb the situation. However, the following tips should help you sleep better:
Establish A Pattern
Stick to one bed-time routine so that your body automatically knows when to shut down and when to wake up. This should be the same for weekends too.
Exercise and especially aerobics keep the body in good shape and they reduce anxiety which is a core inhibitor of sleep. The body will also respond well to sleep when you are tired from exercising. However, avoid exercising towards bedtime because your brain will stay alert for longer.
Be Careful With Naps
Short naps between ten to twenty minutes during the day will help your body to respond better to sleep at night. However, be careful because sleeping too long during the day can negatively affect your sleeping pattern at night.
No Screens Before Bed
TV, smartphones, video games – these gadgets are a major distraction and can actually hamper your body’s ability to fall asleep. Instead of stimulating your mind with a screen, try reading instead. If you absolutely have to look at a screen before bed, most modern computers have a “night time” mode that can dim blues to try and prevent any sleep issues.
It is almost impossible to sleep well in a bed that is not appealing! Get a cozy mattress if you have to and ensure that your beddings are always clean and neat.
Take A Hot Shower
Take a hot shower or hot bath between bedtime. The fluctuation in body temperature achieved after bathing will help to induce sleep.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Lay off the coffee! Limit your caffeine consumption to mornings and early afternoons. Try not to consume any caffeine at least eight hours before bed. Caffeine has stimulants that keep the mind alert regardless of the time and can prevent sleep.
Make The Room Dark
Dim the lights or better still switch them off. Research shows that people sleeping in a well-lit room take longer to fall asleep than those in a dark one. By turning off the lights, you are actually signaling to your brain that it is time to sleep.
Create A Quiet Environment
Your bedroom should be free from noise and electronic gadgets including loud music. If need be, feel free to put on some light, relaxing music to help you get ready to fall asleep.
Read A Relaxing Book
Engage yourself in a relaxing activity such as reading a novel. This will help you drift into slumber within no time.
The Importance of Quality Sleep
- Improved concentration ability and better output. Sufficient sleep gives the brain time to relax and it becomes better equipped for new tasks. As a result, you have increased concentration which in turn promotes productivity.
- It lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. During sleep, the body ‘reboots’ and your vital organs are nourished. People who sleep well are at minimal risk of suffering from heart diseases and stroke.
- Boosting the immune system. The immune system is impaired when we deprive our bodies of the recommended 7-8 hours nap time.
- Reduced chances of inflammation. Adequate sleep has proven to suppress several causes of inflammation and cell damage.
- Emotional fitness and better social interaction. People who get a good night’s sleep are calmer and exhibit a better reaction to situations. According to research these people process information well and relate better to others.
On the other hand, poor sleep increases the chances of obesity and weight gain. Research shows that people with poor sleeping habits are 89% more likely to become obese (for adults) and 55% for children. Note that children need more sleep.
It is the small things in life that define who we are and sleep is most definitely among them. People who get adequate sleep end up being more productive than those who don’t. Establishing good sleep behaviors has a positive effect on you physically, socially, and mentally. Invest in a better sleeping schedule, and you will start enjoying the above benefits.
However just as it is important to sleep adequately, don’t oversleep. Engage in regular exercise to keep your body in shape. And if you still find it hard to sleep throughout the night, then it is time you visited a physician before things get out of hand. Please keep in mind this website does not provide medical advice. If you believe you are experiencing any sort of sleep-related issue, talk to your doctor.