You ever hear that saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? Google tells us Bon Jovi coined it in his song back in 1993. However, we are here to tell you, sleep now!!
As per the National Sleep Foundation guidelines, healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to help their growth and development, while people over 65 should also get 7 to 8 hours per night. How old are you and are you getting enough sleep?!
WHAT IS SLEEP AND WHY WE NEED IT
Sleep accounts for one-quarter to one-third of the human lifespan. That is a huge chunk of your life, spent sleeping! What exactly happens when you sleep? Sleep is a phase in which the brain is engaged in numerous activities necessary to life—which are closely linked to quality of life!
Getting enough sleep is important! However, the proper quality is also essential. Signs of poor quality sleep may include feeling sleepy or tired even after getting enough sleep, repeatedly waking up during the night, and having symptoms of a sleep disorder (like snoring or gasping for air). Sounds like it means, SLEEP GOOD, FEEL GOOD!
The brain cycles repeatedly between two different types of sleep: REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep (Hopkins Medicine).
Non-REM Sleep – As you begin to fall asleep you enter this stage. During this time, your body builds bones and muscles, repairs and regenerates tissues and strengthens the immune system.
REM Sleep – During this time, brain activity and muscle relaxation increases. REM sleep is involved in storing memories, learning, and balancing mood. REM sleep stimulates parts of the brain that we use for learning. The eyes move rapidly behind closed lids, and brain waves are similar to those while being awake. Your breath rate may increase and the body becomes temporarily paralyzed as we dream.
BENEFITS OF SLEEP
1. Immune System Booster!
When your body gets enough sleep, your immune cells and proteins get the recovery and energy they need to fight off bacteria, viruses and pathogens. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, good quality sleep can possibly make vaccines more effective.
2. Heart Health
Lack of sleep can lead to heart health problems like high blood pressure or heart attacks (Center for Disease Control, 2022). Sleep deprivation can cause your body to release cortisol, a stress hormone that causes your heart to work much harder. Your heart needs rest in order to function powerfully and properly.
3. Mood Booster
Good quality sleep increases energy levels which in turn helps mood quality (Center for Disease Control, 2022). When your energy levels are high, your mood and outlook tend to be brighter and better!
Sleep has been connected to better concentration and higher cognitive function (Center for Disease Control, 2022). When you have an easier time focusing on what you’re doing, you're bound to be more productive!
5. Exercise Performance
Quality of sleep affects exercise performance since rest helps with hand-eye coordination, reaction time and muscle recovery and growth. Sleep deprivation can also have a negative impact on endurance, strength and power (Harvard Health, 2018).
During sleep, your mind is processing and consolidating your memories from that day. Lack of sleep can compromise the storage and clarity of these memories (Hopkins Medicine).
RESULTS OF LACK OF SLEEP
Do you feel like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today? Perhaps you’re feeling a little irritable or anxious? Are you having a hard time focusing? These are all likely results of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can increase the risk for a number of chronic health problems, including increased risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, poor mental health, and even early death. Lack of sleep can weaken your immunity that could lead to illness and infection. You won't be able to perform at optimum levels, leaving work or school to possibly suffer. Your reaction time can also be affected and slowed down, increasing the risk of accidents. Sleep is vital to the rest and recovery of the body. When you don’t get enough sleep, health risks rise. Symptoms of depression, seizures and migraines may worsen as well (Center for Disease Control, 2022).
PRIORITIZE YOUR RESTA few practices that can help improve sleep:
- Be consistent! Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Remember when we said routines are important but they don’t have to be long or complicated? Simply going to bed at the same time every night can be your routine!
- Making sure your bed and sleep position are comfy.
- Making sure your sleep set up is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Removing all electronic devices such as TVs, gaming consoles, computers, and phones from the bedroom.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Get moving! Being active during the day can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality (Harvard Health, 2018).
“The Science of Sleep” Hopkins Medicine, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-science-of-sleep-understanding-what-happens-when-you-sleep
“Tips for Better Sleep” Center for Disease Control, https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html
“Sleep” Harvard Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sleep/
“How much sleep do we really need” Sleep Foundation, 29 August 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
“Sleep” Harvard Health, https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/sleep
“Staying Healthy: Better Sleep Naturally” Harvard Health, 17 November 2018, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/better-sleep-naturally
“Getting Enough Sleep” Center for Disease Control, September 19, 2022 https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/features/getting-enough-sleep.html
DISCLAIMER: THIS POST DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AS MEDICAL ADVICE. THIS POST IS NOT MEANT TO TREAT, CURE, PREVENT, OR DIAGNOSE CONDITIONS OR DISEASES; AND IS MEANT FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. AS ALWAYS, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TRYING ANY NEW TREATMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS.