Sleep is an essential activity that gives you time to recharge your body and mind. It allows your brain to enhance its cognition functions, such as concentrating, thinking clearly, and processing memories. Without sleep, your overall health will be affected, and you will be susceptible to a wide range of illnesses. According to studies, adults should sleep for seven to nine hours every night. In contrast, teenagers and children, especially those under five years old, need longer sleeping time.
Sadly, many factors may deprive people of having enough sleep, such as work schedules, stress, poor bedroom environment, and medical conditions. Unless you have a sleep disorder, staying on a healthy diet and having positive lifestyle habits can help you sleep better.
Below are the reasons why you should have a good quality sleep.
- Poor sleep can make you gain weight. Studies show that poor sleep and weight gain are linked. Adults and children with inadequate sleep tend to weigh more than those who get their prescribed amount of sleep. Short sleeping time can cause obesity, so if you want to lose weight, get quality sleep.
- Good sleep improves concentration and productivity. Sleep is essential for improving brain functions, such as concentration and productivity. Sleep deprivation can cause poor performance, while good sleep can improve your problem-solving skills and memory.
- Inadequate sleep increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Short duration and poor quality of sleep are known to affect your health significantly. Most notably, it makes you more prone to heart disease and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adequate sleep allows the body to regulate blood pressure.
- Insufficient sleep may cause depression. Poor sleep is associated with mental health issues like depression. People with sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea are more likely to show signs of depression than those who do not.
- Sleep boosts your immune system. Getting at least eight hours of sleep can improve the function of your immune system. If you are prone to having common colds, sleeping for at least eight hours can be very helpful. On the other hand, a slight loss of sleep can significantly impact your immune system.
- Sleep affects your emotional and social intelligence. Studies confirmed that lack of sleep might reduce your ability to manage your emotions and interact socially. Specifically, people without sleep can barely recognize expressions of happiness and anger. Lack of sleep impairs your ability to process emotional information.
- Good sleep improves calorie regulation. According to studies, good sleepers are better at regulating calorie intake than sleep-deprived individuals. Sleep deprivation can reduce appetite-suppressing hormones resulting in increased appetite.
- Good sleep enhances athletic performance. If you are an athlete, you can maximize your performance by getting a night of good sleep. A study involving basketball players confirmed that longer sleep improved their speed, precision, attentiveness, and well-being. Athletes benefit from sleeping as many as 10 hours, like having more energy and better mental functioning.
- Sleep lowers inflammation. Research shows that sleep and inflammation are linked, with insufficient sleep identified as a significant factor for increased inflammation in the body. Conversely, inflammatory bowel diseases also contribute to sleep deprivation.
How to Have a Great Night’s Sleep
Now that you know how risky it is to get insufficient sleep and poor sleep quality, here are some tips to have a great night’s sleep:
- Stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule. Our body follows a natural sleep-wake cycle called circadian rhythm, which tells us when to sleep and wake up. Keeping in sync with this rhythm is an excellent strategy for sleeping better. To sync with your circadian rhythm, try sleeping at the same time every day by choosing a bedtime when you usually feel tired. If you get enough sleep, you will wake up at the same time every morning, even without an alarm.
- Maintain low light levels in your bedroom. Light exposure controls your body’s melatonin. When it’s dark, your brain produces more melatonin, a hormone which makes you sleepy. So keep the lights down at night and avoid bright screens at least one hour before your bedtime.
- Exercise regularly during the day. Doing regular exercises during the day can help address insomnia and sleep apnea and increase the amount of time you speed on deep sleep. Even walking for 10 minutes a day can improve the quality of your sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and large meals a few hours before bedtime. Caffeine is known to cause sleeping problems after 10-12 hours of consumption. Similarly, big meals at night can cause stomach upset and heartburn, which could affect your bedtime.
- Have a comfortable sleep environment. You can improve the quality of your sleep by making your bedroom conducive to sleeping. You can do this by keeping your room dark, cool, and quiet. Mind also the mattress, pillows, and sheets that you use.
- Listen to calming music to unwind at night. Residual stress and worry are factors that can cause sleep deprivation. If you find that these things are bothering your sleep, you may spend few minutes before bedtime to unwind and clear your head by listening to calming music. You can use headphones for sleeping to help you wind down and eventually fall to sleep in a noise-free environment.
Sleep is an essential activity that allows your body and mind to recharge after a tiring day. Without sleep, your brain will not function properly, and you will put your physical and mental health at risk. There are many ways to improve your sleep quality, such as keeping in sync with your natural body cycle, having a comfortable sleep environment, and listening to calming music.