Sleep tips – What is sleep?
Think of your activities on a daily basis, which activities are so important you should devote one-third of your time to doing it? Probably the first thing that comes into your mind is work, spending time with your family, or doing leisure activities. But there is something else you should be doing one-third of your time- and that is sleeping. Many people view sleep as merely a downtime when their brains shut off and their bodies rest.
People may cut back on sleep, thinking it won’t be a problem, because other responsibilities seem much more important or because of health issues, sleep can become a challenge. Research shows that a number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help people stay healthy and function at their best. While you sleep, your brain is hard at work informing the pathways necessary for learning and creating memories and gain new insights. Without proper sleep, you can’t focus and pay attention or respond quickly.
Sleep tips – lack of sleep may cause
A lack of sleep may even cause mood problems. Also, growing evidence shows that a chronic lack of sleep increases your risk of:
- Heart problems
Sleep tips – What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
Sleep is a basic biological necessity that profoundly affects our day-to-day life as well as our long-term well-being. After just one bad night’s sleep, the quality of our entire day can be compromised- we feel sluggish, less motivated, less adept, and moodier. When a lack of sleep begins adding up, the effects are exponential. The body and the brain will quickly begin to suffer the consequences of sleep deprivation.
In fact, sleep deprivation is so detrimental to one’s mental and physical health that it’s even been used by the CIA as a controversial method to interrogate detainees.
Sleep tips – a general list of symptoms of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation occurs when a person gets less sleep than their body needs. The effect of sleep deprivation can vary from person to person. Children and teenagers need more sleep than adults as their brains and bodies are still developing and growing. As such, the effects of sleep deprivation in children can sometimes be more severe or longer-lasting.
Sleep tips – Here is a list of general symptoms of sleep deprivation in adults:
- Fatigue and sleepiness during the day
- Concentration and memory difficulties
- Reduced coordination
- Increased appetite
- Mood swings
Regular or chronic sleep deprivation can also increase a person’s risk of several health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sleep deprivation can be fatal in certain circumstances.
For instance, sleep deprivation can increase the risk of dangerous accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, U.S. police-reported 90.000 motor vehicle crashes that involved sleep-deprived drivers. Also, the NHTSA reported drowsy driving claimed 795 lives in 2017.
Sleep tips – The symptoms of Insomnia in middle adulthood can include:
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Changes in body temperature
- Dementia that progresses rapidly
Depression and lack of sleep are also linked. Depression is a mood disorder links to lack of sleep. While the specific brain mechanisms are not known, in one major study people with chronic insomnia were ten times more likely to develop depression. Sleep Apnea, a breathing issue while sleeping is also linked with depression – one study showed that people who were depressed were five times as likely to have the condition. Because lack of sleep and depression are so interconnected, it can be hard to tease out which came first.
Sleep tips from The National Sleep Foundation
The National Sleep Foundation suggests keeping a sleep diary to help your doctor diagnose you and decide the best treatment approach.
Sleep tips – How much sleep do you actually need to call yourself healthy?
Everybody feels better after a good night’s sleep. But now, thanks to a report from the National Sleep Foundation, you can aim for a targeted sleep number tailored to your age. The foundation based its report on two years of research. Published a recent issue of the foundation’s journal Sleep Health, the report updated previous sleep recommendations. It breaks them into nine-age-specific categories with a range for each, which allows for individual differences.
Sleep tips – See the chart below:
|Older adults, 65+ years||7-8 hours sleep|
|Adults, 26-64 years||7 to 9 hours of sleep|
|Young adults, 18- 25 years||7 to 9 hours of sleep|
|Teenagers, 14 to 17 years||8 to 10 hours of sleep|
|School-age children, 6 to 13 years||8 to 10 hours of sleep|
|Preschool children, 3 to 5 years||10 to 13 hours of sleep|
|Toddlers, 1 to 2 years||11 to 14 hours of sleep|
|Infants, 4 to 11 months||12 to 15 hours of sleep|
|Newborns, 0 to 3 months||14 to 17 hours of sleep|
According to doctors, there is evidence that genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors help determine how much sleep and individual needs for the best health and daily performance. But a minimum of seven hours of sleep is a step in the right direction to improve your health.
Sleep tips – benefits of quality sleep
A number of aspects of your health and quality of life are linked to sleep, and these aspects are impaired when you are sleep deprived. Your learning, memory, and mood are affected when you lack sleep. Recent studies reveal that people can learn a task better if they are well-rested. They also can better remember what they learned if they get a good night’s sleep after learning the task than if they are sleep deprived.
Sleep tips – How sleep works
The quality of your sleep is determined by a process called the sleep-wake- cycle. There are 2 important parts of the sleep-wake cycle:
- Slow-wave sleep also known as deep sleep
- REM sleep stands for Rapid eye movement
Sleep tips – What is slow-wave sleep?
During slow-wave sleep the body relaxes, breathing becomes more regular, blood pressure falls, and the brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli, which makes it more difficult to wake up. This phase is critical to the renewal and repair of the body. During slow-wave sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. Researchers also believe that the body’s immune system is repaired during this stage. Slow-wave sleep is particularly critical if you are an athlete.
Sleep tips – What is REM sleep?
REM sleep is to the mind what slow-wave sleep is to the body. The brain is relatively quiet during most sleep phases, but during REM your brain comes to life. REM sleep is when your brain dreams and re-organizes information. During this phase, your brain clears out irrelevant information, boosts your memory by connecting the experiences of the last 24 hours to your previous experiences, and facilitates learning and neural growth. Your body temperature rises, your blood pressure increases, and your heart rate speeds up. Despite all of this activity, your body hardly moves. Typically, the REM phase occurs in short bursts 3 to 5 times per night.
Sleep tips – Importance of REM sleep
Without the slow-wave sleep and REM sleep phases, the body literally starts to die. If you starve yourself of sleep, you can’t recover physically, your immune systems weaken, and your brain becomes foggy. Or, as the researchers put it, sleep-deprived individuals experience increased risk of viral infections, weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, mental illness, and mortality.
To summarize, slow-wave sleep helps you recover physically while REM sleep helps you recover mentally. The amount of time you spend in these phases tends to decrease with age, which means the quality of your sleep and your body’s ability to recover also decrease with age.
Sleep tips – How to sleep better?
Sleep tips – How to sleep better is one of our sleep tips to give more quality sleep every night.
Sleep tips – How to sleep better tip #1 – Develop a power down ritual before bed.
The light from computer screens, mobile phones, and TVs can hinder the production of melatonin, which means your body is not preparing the hormones it needs to enter sleep phases. Melatonin is a natural hormone that increases, to help our body prepare for bedtime. This happens when the does go down, or lack of natural light. Since we are in a world full of gadgets, we tend to associate relaxing time with gadget time, lie down in bed watch TV, and scan over our social media, and so on. It is the blue light from these devices that decreases melatonin production. Therefore, it is important to develop a habit every night to turn off all gadgets an hour or 2 before bedtime, to prepare your body for sleep.
Sleep tips – How to sleep better tip #2 – Use relaxation techniques
It is believed that 50% of insomnia cases are emotion or stress-related. Find outlets to reduce your stress and you will often find that better sleep comes as a result. Proven methods include daily journaling, deep breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, and keeping a gratitude journal. A change in lifestyle is also advisable. Listen to some sleep music a few hours before you go to bed, you can turn your sleep music on while you are last house chores for the day, or while you are prepping yourself with some hot bath. You can also use essential oils during your bath to induce relaxation and sleep. While essential oil diffusers are also effective for aromatherapy, it is wise to choose the right one.
Sleep tips – How to sleep better tip #3 – Check your sleep environment
Having great sleep hygiene will enhance the quality of your sleep. Good sleep is more likely to happen if your bedroom feels restful and comfortable.
Sleep tips – It is suggested to:
- Invest in a good sleeping mattress
- Making sure the room is in the right temperature ( not too cold and not too warm)
- Ensure that the room is dark enough, invest in good quality blackout curtains if the street lights get into your bedroom
- If you can’t control the noise from outside, invest in a good sound machine or sleep buds
Sleep hygiene also includes a change in your lifestyle habits such as avoiding caffeine in late afternoons or other caffeinated drinks. Obey your body clock, or change your body clock by getting into bed the same time every night and waking up the same time every morning. This way you can regulate your body clock to have a healthy sleeping habit.
Sleep tips – Other ways you can implement good sleep hygiene is to following these simple sleep tips below:
- Exercise every day, however, do not do it close to bedtime
- Try not to engage in mentally stimulating activities before bedtime.
- Don’t take late afternoon naps, naps should be done right after lunch and for a short period such as 30 to 45 minutes is enough to get your energy boost.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks, instead, try herbal teas such as chamomile to induce sleep
Sleep tips – try natural sleep aids
Often, sleep issues can be resolved with lifestyle changes. For those that cannot, your doctor may suggest a sleep aid. There are many sleep aids on the market, including prescription sleep aids, over-the-counter sleep aids, and natural sleep aids. Each has its own benefits and works better in certain situations. You want to choose one that addresses your particular needs and helps you wake up feeling rested without residual grogginess. Discover the differences, and learn which one might be most appropriate for you.
Sleep tips sleep aid #1 – Prescription sleep aids
If you have tried behavioral changes like turning off your smartphones, TV, and other devices an hour prior to bedtime or forgoing your nightly wine and environmental changes to get a good sleep but to no success, your doctor may suggest you try a prescription sleep aid. Your doctor will take into account your age, health, lifestyle, and possible underlying cause of sleeplessness before prescribing you an aid that can help with short-term sleep difficulties. The drugs work in multiple ways, often by wither slowing your brain activity or blocking chemicals that stimulate the brain.
Sleep tips – sleep aid #2 – OTC or over-the-counter sleep aids
Many over the counter sleep aids use antihistamines, a common ingredient in cold medicines, to increase drowsiness. In fact, the primary function of many OTC options is not to promote sleep, but sleepiness is a beneficial side effect. As such, these choices can work well if cold or allergies are keeping you awake at night.
It is vital to know that you can develop a tolerance for OTC sleep aids, containing antihistamines, meaning the more you take, the more you will need to get equivalent results. Over time, they can become habit-forming. This is why sleep aids are considered short-term solutions to insomnia, consult with your doctor for a long term plan.
Sleep tips – Sleep aid #3 – Natural sleep aids
Sleep tips with Natural sleep aids use only natural ingredients to create supplements that promote sleep. Keep in mind, however, that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate natural sleep aids. Do your research on the ingredients in natural sleep supplements and discuss your choices with your doctor. Melatonin and valerian root are two common natural sleep aids. Both of which are most often used for temporary sleep issues like jet lag or switching shift schedules at work. The hormone melatonin regulates your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Valerian root, meanwhile, reduces anxiety to help you relax and prepare for sleep.
Sleep tips – the right sleep habits can go a long way
Sleep tips mentioned above are great suggestions to follow to get the best night sleep, however, the right sleep habits can go a long way in helping you get the quality and quantity of sleep that you need to feel rested during the day. But if you are still struggling with insomnia that interferes with your daily life, despite tweaking alcohol, and electronics, then it may be time to talk to your doctor. Insomnia is treatable, but everyone responds differently to different approaches. Ask your physician about some of these common sleep tips mentioned above.