Why is sleep important and how to sleep better?
Sleep is critical for an individual’s good health and well-being and to ensure survival. Adequate and quality sleep at the right time ensures good mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
- Good sleep determines your level of activity during the day, as it aids in maintaining healthy brain function and physical health.
- Quality sleep promotes growth and development in children.
How does sleep boost healthy brain function and emotional health?
- Sleep makes your brain function properly, as it boosts learning and memory.
- It promotes one’s creativity, attentiveness, and ability to make decisions.
How does sleep enhance physical health?
- Adequate sleep facilitates quick healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels.
- It plays an important role in the maintenance of hormonal balance, such as controlling Ghrelin (which makes you feel hungry) or Leptin (which makes you feel full).
- Sleep affects blood sugar levels in the body. Lack of sleep leads to high levels of blood sugar in the body – exposing one to a higher risk of diabetes.
- It promotes healthy growth and development in children. Sleep controls hormones that promote normal growth in children and boosts muscle mass. It also helps to repair cells and tissues.
- It promotes overall health. Lack of sleep makes it difficult for the body to fight common infections because sleep builds up the immune system.
- It stimulates puberty and fertility.
How does sleep affect your daytime performance?
- Enough sleep boosts your capability to finish tasks on time.
- It helps you have faster reactions.
- Sleep reduces your chances of making mistakes and makes you more productive.
Effects of Inadequate and Poor-Quality Sleep
- One is exposed to the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stroke.
- It affects how well you think, work, react and learn.
- It leads to poor decision making and problem solving abilities.
- You may increase your risk of depression, suicide, and risky behavior.
- You may have more mood swings, affecting how well you get along with others.
- You may feel more stressed and less motivated.
- Your ability to pay attention will decrease.
- You may feel sleepy while driving, compromising your and others’ safety.
Sometimes it may be difficult to get to sleep. This happens when, for example, you are stressed, dealing with depression or anxiety, have insomnia, or for many other countless reasons. Some people will opt for over-the-counter drugs or pills to induce sleep. Some examples include:
- Anacin PM
- Tylenol PM
What are the side effects of using these pills?
Unfortunately, these pills can carry bad side effects, which makes it unwise to use them unless circumstance forces. Regular use causes:
- Blurred vision
- Feeling drowsy the following day
Tips for Getting Better Sleep
Avoid Using Stimulants Before You Go to Bed
Nicotine – If you are a smoker, you should avoid smoking before sleeping since nicotine can disrupt sleep.
Caffeine – Caffeine can be found in things like coffee, chocolate, tea, and soda. You should avoid these foods/beverages for at least four hours before going to bed.
Alcohol- It’s true that alcohol helps you fall asleep, but unfortunately, it carries a stimulant which disrupts your sleep during the night. It may make you wake up several times throughout the night. It’s advisable that you avoid drinking alcohol for at least three hours before sleeping.
Make Your Bedroom a Sleep-Inducing Place
To set the mood for sleep, make sure your bedroom is tidy and dark. Make your bed every morning, and make sure everything else is in order.
The sleeping hormone is usually produced in sufficient quantities in a dark environment, so make sure the place is dark, and before you know it, you will be asleep.
Choose the Right Pillow
If your pillow is too thin, it usually makes your head tilt backwards, and you may become uncomfortable while lying in bed. Use a medium size pillow to avoid this issue.
Be careful in your pillow selection to avoid having back pains when you wake up.
If you sleep on your side, try and place a pillow between your legs to help support your hips and make the position more comfortable.
What and when you eat can determine your sleep pattern.
As is done with hospital patients, it’s best to eat your dinner three hours before your bedtime. A full stomach may make you lack sleep, but also do not go to bed hungry.
Also, avoid greasy foods since they can inhibit your sleep.
The Wall Street Journal, in 2008, reported that lavender scent helped women with insomnia go into a deeper sleep when they used it before bedtime.
Write Down Your Thoughts
In most cases, when you have racing thoughts in your mind, it’s hard to fall asleep. You may find yourself thinking about your bills, school fees, your relationship, etc. To avoid this, write your thoughts down before you go to sleep.
National Sleep Foundation’s survey in America found that those who regularly exercise get the best sleep. You may want to make it a habit to exercise if you want to sleep well.
Make Your Bed for Sleeping and Sex Only
Your bed should only be used for these two purposes if you are to have quality sleep. When the brain is used to that, any time you get into bed, it will register that you are there to sleep, and the sleeping hormone will be released.
Your Bedroom Should Be Silent
Before sleeping, turn off any TV or music in the bedroom. Things like ticking clocks or anything noisy should be out of the room to avoid disrupting your sleep.
There’s no doubt that good sleep is all that you need to have a productive and healthy life. The negative impacts of having poor quality and inadequate sleep are too much to bear. Left with no option but to have quality sleep for a happy life, we are all obliged to know the tactics to use to improve our sleep. You now have them, and it is up to you to apply these to your routine if you want a good night’s sleep.