Sleep is our body’s way of maintaining important cognitive skills such as speech, memory and thinking.
A latest study published in the journal sleep reports that people who sleep less during the weekdays and try to make up for it by sleeping more on the weekends are more susceptible to heart ailments and diabetes. Sleep deprivation has severe repercussions ranging from mood swings, lethargy to even depression.
The study adds another chapter to the ongoing research on understanding the effects of sleep on the overall well-being of a person. Erratic sleep pattern is a common phenomenon in today’s world. As we struggle to juggle between work, family, friends and our personal interests, sleep seems to be the least important on our list of priorities. Sleep is important for the body to conserve and restore energy, and get ready for the next day.
You need your sleep. If you don’t get it, your body operates under stress. Sleep deprivation has been linked to increases in depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, as well as memory and cognitive problems. This isn’t a pretty picture.
Things ruin a good night sleep:
1.A busy mind
Stress and anxiety are common causes of insomnia, which is the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep long enough to feel refreshed.Stress is the enemy of sleep. In bed, our mind is left free to wander and anxiety concerning sleep will only make it worse.It’s difficult to keep track of time when you’re lying down in the dark waiting for sleep. People often nod off and wake up again but it feel as if they’re getting no sleep at all. This delivers fragmented sleep with much less time spent in the important deep sleep stages.Sleep experts recommend that people with this problem get up and do an activity which distracts the mind from worry – such as a puzzle – before trying to sleep again.
One in eight of us use mobile phones in bedroom late at night, increasing the risk of sleep to be disturbed.We might feel drowsy as we start to fall asleep, but our brain is still active, and noises or discomfort can disturb us.As we drift into light sleep, an area of the brain called the hypothalamus starts to block the flow of information from our senses to the rest of the brain. But it will still let through noises, which need to be able to wake us up.After about half an hour of light sleep, most of us enter a type of deep sleep called slow-wave sleep. Our brains become less responsive and it becomes much harder to be woken up. But some things will always get through – such as our names being called out loudly.Missing out on parts of our usual sleep cycle reduces the quality and quantity of sleep.
We’re all familiar with the old proverb “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise .This routine should be followed by everyone to stay healthy.The main synchroniser for our body clock is light. Our eyes react to light and dark, even when our eyelids are closed.Daylight prompts our brains to reduce the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. This makes us feel more alert.If we get less sleep during the night, because of going to bed late or waking up early, we’re unlikely to get as much deep sleep as we need.
How to maximize your ability to sleep:
Keep to a regular schedule. Try to go to bed, and wake up, at a similar time each day, including weekend. This establishes a pattern for the body.
Prepare your sleep environment by keeping it dark and quiet. Sleep on a good quality, supportive mattress, and be sure to keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
Keep your bedroom your bedroom. Don’t turn it into a television room, computer room, or workstation. Your bedroom should be a place where you give your mind permission to rest, turn off, and go into “sleep” mode.
Drink a cup of warm milk. Keep any liquid consumption limited to around 4-6 ounces or you’ll end up waking up during the night to use the bathroom.
Take a hot bath or shower just prior to going to bed. Some people find this very relaxing. Allowing your body to physically relax will assist your mind in triggering its internal shut-off switch.
Reading a book for many people, helps them relax and tune out the events of the day.
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