Why is sleep so important?

why is sleep important Fatima DiasWe all know that a good night sleep is important for us to feel energized and fresh for the coming day, but there is so much more to it.

Sleep & Mental Health 

  • Enhance memory and problem-solving skills
  • Stay motivated, alert and engaged
  • Improve mood and even prevent feelings of depression.

Sleep & Physical Health

  • Help maintain healthy body weigh
  • Sport immune system and staying “strong”
  • Repair cells and tissues.

Lack of Sleep

As we can see sleep is super important, the deprivation of it takes a great toll on us physically and mentally. Research shows that chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of various disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and obesity.
Insufficient sleep may also lead to a general slowing down of response speed and increased variability in performance, particularly for simple measures of alertness, attention and vigilance.

There are many factors that can influence our sleep such as medical conditions, stress, sleep environment, and what we drink and eat. Perhaps the greatest influence is the exposure to light. Specialized cells in our eyes process light and tell the brain either is day or night and can advance or delay our sleep cycle.

Night shift workers often have trouble falling asleep, and may also have trouble staying awake at work because it is unnatural to the body to stay awake during the day. Jet lag is another cause of mismatch between our internal clock and the actual time of day.

Not getting enough sleep is sure a problem, but getting to much of it, it’s also not a very good idea.

Sleeping too much

Oversleeping also has it’s down side, is has been linked to a host of medical problems, including diabetes, heart disease, headaches and others.

Oversleeping is actually a medical disorder, Hyper-somnia. This condition causes people to suffer from extreme sleepiness throughout the day, people with this condition experience symptoms of anxiety, low energy, and memory problems. It is not a very common disorder, but I am sure you have seen lots of teenagers oversleeping. Am I wrong? How can they sleep so much??? Well we have to understand that, as much as many of them already physically look like adults they are not.

How much sleep do we need?

Our need for sleep and our sleep patterns change as we age, and may also vary between individuals and their daily demands. There is no “magic number” that works for everyone.

  • Babies initially sleep as much as 16-18 hours per day (boosts growth and development, specially of the brain.
  • School-age children and teens need an average of 9.5-10 hours.
    Most adults need between 7-9 hours per night, but after age 60, this amount tends to be shorter.
  • Elderly have lighter sleep and can be interrupted by multiple awakenings. Medication taken may also affect their sleep.

In general, now a days we are getting less sleep than we should. Many of us feel we can “catch up” on missed sleep during the weekend, but depending on how sleep-deprived we are, sleeping longer on weekends may not be adequate, as we may sleep “too much” when we were used to get not enough. May turn our body out of balance.sleeping is important fit by Fatima

Tips for getting a good night’s sleep

As you see, getting a good night sleep should be on the “do to list” of all of us.
Let’s look at some tips to make that happen:

  • Set a schedule – set a time to go to bed and get up at the same time everyday.
  • Exercise a minimum of 20-30minutes per day. As we know exercise helps improve sleep, but should be avoided too close to bed time.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcoholic drinks before bed
  • Relax before bed – a warm bath, reading, meditation, breathing exercises or any relaxing routine
  • Create a room for sleep – avoid bright lights and loud sounds, keep room at comfortable temperature
  • Avoid “screens” 30 minutes before bed – blue light from Tv’s, computer, phones and tablets may suppress melatonin (sleep regulation hormone) levels and delay sleepiness.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake – if you see you are not able to fall asleep, read a book or listens to calm music. Find something that works for you.

If you are spending more nights awake than not, I encourage you to see your doctor, most sleep disorders can be easily treated. There is still a lot of research do be done on sleep, but one thing we can conclude, sleep is definitely a pillar for health, vitality and well being.

Now, shhhh it’s sleeping time. Have a good night.

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