Why is Sleep Important?
A good night’s sleep is as crucial as proper nutrition and regular physical activity. Sleep plays a significant role in your overall well-being. It takes care of physical and mental health.
Evidently, it allows your body and mind to restore to their full potential. Quality sleep is actually more important than the number of hours you go through. Poor sleep on a daily basis can put one at potential risk of various diseases.
Getting appropriate sleep is linked to many health benefits such as:
- Sleep helps promote focus and productivity.
- It improves physical health from immunity to cell regeneration.
- Proper sleep prevents and helps ease mental illnesses.
- Lower risk of heart disease and other chronic ailments.
- Benefits you in physical activities or athletic performance.
Modern-day lifestyles around the world is not allowing people to have adequate sleep, but there are certain changes that one can make to have an overall balanced life.
Causes of Sleep Deprivation
Lack of sleep or getting less quality of it can affect a person’s life in many ways. For example, ongoing sleep, and lack of quality can affect one’s productivity and overall condition of well-being.
Hence, it’s very important to prioritize quality as well as quantity so that your body and mind are in optimal health.
Acute sleep deprivation causes common signs such as:
- Fatigue ( 1 )
- Yawning most of the daytime
- Loss of attention or focus
Whereas, chronic sleep deprivation can have negative impacts that can lead to severe conditions, such as:
1) Weight gain: Lack of sleep is one of the risks for obesity (2). Sleep deprivation affects your hormonal function and when your body doesn’t regulate hormones as it should, weight gain is very noticeable. Obesity then further leads to diabetes, heart disease, etc.
2) Weakens immune system: Since sleep helps your immune system to be more productive in terms of fighting against viruses. So lack of it causes your body to not be able to fend off invaders and would thus take a longer time to recover from illnesses.
3) Mood swings: Lack of sleep changes your mood very often. You can become moody, emotional, and tempered at times. If not treated early, these moods would eventually lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental problems.
4) Slow-healing process: Sleep is fundamentally necessary for overcoming any kind of injury or wound. Sleep deprivation can affect your body’s natural ability to heal and may take a longer period of time to get through certain conditions.
Tips for Better Sleep
Generally, people stress themselves out with things going on around them – from the workplace to family situations and more. These are very common factors involved in most people’s lives and then they end up having very little to no sleep at all.
Yes, you need to follow some tricks and tips to help you sleep better. Maybe you can’t control the external factors that hinder your sleep, but you can certainly adapt some habits that will definitely leave you fresh and energetic the following day.
You can start with these simple tips:
1) Focus on your appetite:
Avoid going to bed when you are hungry or full. Both of these conditions do not provide quality sleep and can cause unnecessary discomfort.
Also do not drink alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine have effects that take several hours to wear off. Alcohol might make you feel sleepy, but that’s not the kind of sleep you’re looking for. It might disrupt your sleep in the middle of the night and often cause a hangover the next day.
2) Better sleep environment:
A) Comfortable Room: Always remember that a dark, cool and quiet room is the best option you can have to get quality sleep. Avoid using electronics like phones and laptops just before going to bed.
B) Consider using essential oils for natural aromas in your room which will help you to ease your mind and also release a soothing and pleasant smell in your bedroom. Oils like lavender and chamomile have relaxing effects.
C) Get quality mattress and bedding: A quality mattress and bedclothes play major roles in deciding how comfortable you are during your sleep. Also, it makes sure that you have proper support along with your pillow. Good bedding will also keep you warm and relaxed throughout the night.
D) Ensure peace and quietness: You do not want noise or any sort of sound that doesn’t promote sleep or disturbs you during the night. This is an important part when it comes to peaceful sleep.
Making sure that it’s a soundproof room, and turning off the TV are some ways to not bother you during the night.
3) Clear your head:
People often have multiple thoughts and worries during the daytime that makes it difficult for them to sleep at night. Taking up many tasks at a time can put a lot of pressure, so try to focus on one task, finish it and switch to the next.
Manage your worries by setting them aside for tomorrow. Do not try to rush things as it can turn only worse than better. Things like organizing your stuff, and setting up priorities or tasks can eliminate most of your concerns and anxiety.
4) Relax your body:
While lying on the bed, breathing consciously from your belly generates a relaxation response, which decreases stress levels by lowering your blood pressure and heartbeat.
There is also a 4-7-8 breathing technique that provides instant sleep by relaxing the entire nervous system.
1) Inhale through your nose from your belly as you count to 4 in your head.
2) Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
3) Exhale through your mouth by making a whoosh (relaxed) sound till the count of 8.
4) Continue this process 4-5 times.
Meditation such as progressive or body scan while lying down also promotes a calm and sound mind that eases you into sleep. Taking a warm bath before your bedtime is also one of the great ways to relax your body and mind by releasing negative thoughts and emotions.
5) Get physically involved:
A study has shown that long-term exercises have helped people’s insomnia and enhanced their quality of sleep. ( 3 )
Regular physical activity such as playing a sport, or doing yoga can promote quality sleep. However, do not engage yourself to be too active just before going to bed.
6) Music Therapy:
Listen to calm, relaxing, and soothing music such as classical or soft pop before bedtime. They can help ease your anxiety and promote good sleep. Avoid songs that cause strong emotional reactions.