So we have already maintained a healthy diet and an exercise routine. But if we do not match them with enough sleep hour every day, then we’re wasting all of our healthy lifestyle efforts. The time and quality of sleep play an important role in the body’s health. This article describes health benefits of getting enough sleep and how to get enough sleep. Featured picture: Snappa
Picture 1. A Sleeping Woman (Pixabay)
Why do we need enough sleep?
We determine enough sleep by the number of sleep hours (quantity of sleep). But other than that, we also determine it by the depth of sleep (sleep quality). Recent scientific studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause significant health problems. The lack of sleep can increase our risk of developing some serious health problems. Those problems range from diabetes, heart disease, obesity, sleep apnea, to premature death.
Sleep is essential to life. Laboratory animals deprived of sleep die. And humans don’t seem to be immune to the life-threatening effects of sleeplessness.
Have you ever woke up startled or like falling? You may think it is a sleep disorder. Researchers assess this as a natural thing. This happens because there is a hypnagogic process, the transition between wakefulness and sleep.
First comes NREM sleep, followed by a shorter period of REM sleep. Then the cycle starts over again.
A pre–sleep condition is where someone is still in a conscious state, but the desire to sleep grows. For example, someone goes into the bedroom and lies on the mattress or settles their body and relaxes their muscles, but not sleep. He begins to feel sleepy, then that person is entering stage I of NREM sleep.
In NREM sleep there are slower brain waves compared to people who are conscious. Signs of NREM sleep among others are the drop in blood pressure, breathing rate slows down, the muscle relaxes, metabolism slows down, and the eyeball movement is slower.
Each stage characterized by changes of patterns in brain wave activity.
2. REM sleep
In this stage, one can sleep sound, but the movement of his eyes are very active. The indicators are a dream, saggy muscles, blood pressure increases, rapid eye movements, gastric secretion increase, penis erection, as well as the temperature and metabolism increased. Signs of people experiencing REM sleep loss are hyperactivity, uncontrollable emotions, increased appetite, confusion, and suspicion.
Picture 3. Sleep Cycle
The cycle continues as long as the person is sleeping. But, the turn of this cycle no longer starts from the beginning of sleep, i.e. pre–sleep and stage I, but the second stage to the next stage of the first cycle. This cycle ends when the person awake from his sleep.
Quality Of Sleep
Quality of sleep is the measure at which a person can easily initiate and maintain sleep. We can describe the quality of one’s sleep with sleep duration and grievances felt during sleep or waking up.
Factors that affect the quality of sleep:
The needs of sleep for each person is different. Several factors influence whether a person can sleep or not, including the following:
a. Health status
Someone who is healthy can sleep well. Meanwhile, for someone who is unhealthy, his sleep will not be sound.
Our sleeping environment can improve or reduce our sleep quality. A clean environment with cold temperature, quiet atmosphere, and not too bright lighting will make the person sleep well. And vice versa: if the environment is dirty, has a hot temperature, crowded, and has very bright illumination, our sleep quality will be poor.
Picture 4. Good environment for sleeping
c. Psychological stress
Anxiety and depression will cause interference with the frequency of sleep. This is because the state of anxiety will increase norepinephrine in blood through the nervous system sympathetic. Norepinephrine increases arousal and alertness.
Obesity: That extra weight on the body can result in problems like joint pain and arthritis. Being obese doesn’t only contribute to increased pain. But also presents other sleep issues such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Physical activity: Many chronic back pain sufferers worry that exercising will only make pain worse. In reality, the opposite is actually true. Regular exercise, stretching, and strengthening programs can promote the body’s natural healing process. It makes you feel better. As a bonus, it will make it easier to fall asleep at night.
Nutrition: Improving our diet is a high priority for a good night’s sleep. Eat more protein during the day and select carbohydrates in the evening. That may help regulate sleep, wakefulness and energy levels. As a general rule, don’t eat 2-3 hours before bedtime. The foods contain the much L-Tryptophan such as cheese, milk, meat and tuna fish can cause person easy to sleep. Instead of beverages containing caffeine or alcohol that disrupts sleep. Read more about the high L-Tryptophan foods here.
Alcohol increases the number of times you awaken in the latter half of the night. It is when the alcohol’s relaxing effect wears off. It prevents you from getting the deep sleep you need. Alcohol keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep.
Picture 6. Drugs (Unsplash)
What are the health benefits of getting enough sleep?
Before reading more, let us watch a video below:
1. Boost the immune system
When we sleep, the immune system will release compounds called cytokines. These compounds have a protective effect on our immune system. The compounds help fight inflammation and infection. Without enough sleep, we may not have enough cytokines to hinder us from getting sick.
A study conducted in 2013. The sleeping hour reduction increase inflammatory compounds in the body. This condition is the same as when we have asthma or allergies.
2. Improve memory
Our brain is actually very active during sleep doing important things. It is not just resting. If we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t function on a number of levels the way we should.
Do you often feel that you’re forgetful? Well, it could be because of your lack of sleep. The reason, one of the benefits of sleep is that it can strengthen our mind. A study showed that sleep after learning can help improve memory. If we do not get enough sleep, we will tend to forget about things that once we passed earlier.
Sleep for seven to eight hours can make us experience all stage of sleep. Two phases of sleep, REM and slow wave sleep hurry the process of remembering and thinking. People who sleep less will experience some of the things that can interfere with memory.
It’s hard to get information because the neurons in the brain work too hard.
Tend to interpret events differently.
Tend to lose the ability to remember certain information.
Picture 7. Neuron Illustration (Pixabay)
3. Sleeping enough can lengthen life expectancy
Too much or too little sleep is associated with a person’s life expectancy. Many things influence it such as diseases. One of the important factors is sleeping. Enough sleep hours and sleep quality were instrumental in extending our lifespan.
Surprising facts show that people who sleep less than six hours a night tend to be at risk of early death by 12 percent. They also found that people who reduced sleep from seven hours to five hours or less had 1.7 times the risk of early death. People who slept more than eight to nine hours per night had an even higher risk, at 30 percent. It indicates that one of the benefits of enough sleep is to lengthen life expectancy.
Picture 8. An Elderly Woman (Unsplash)
4. Controlling appetite
When we sleep at night, our caloric needs reduce because of the lack of movement. This makes the need for energy to decrease. But, when we lack sleep, the brain organ will lower levels of leptin, a hormone that creates a feeling of satiety. As a result, we become easily hungry.
Then, we will meet the energy needs of the body. In the end, we decide to eat more. This will exacerbate if we lack exercise so our weight is getting out of control.
Not only for adults, lack of sleep can also affect children’s health. A study in 2014 showed that children who sleep less are at risk of obesity and increased body mass index (BMI). If allowed to continue, these effects will continue until they are adults. To find out the ideal body mass index, use this BMI calculator.
5. Ageless Appearance
Sleep does more than eliminating fatigue. When we’re sleeping, the functions connected to the health of our skin. Also our blood circulation, metabolism, immune system, and hormonal system. The body restores to its full power.
The difficulty of getting enough sleep is usually influenced by several factors. Either because he was busy playing gadget, excessive anxiety, or stress. Well, here are some tips to get enough sleep every day, among them:
1. Create a sleep schedule
Try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day of the week, including weekends. It is useful to establish our sleep cycle.
2. Avoid foods that trigger sleep disorders
Such as caffeine, chocolate, nicotine, and alcohol.
3. Create a comfortable sleeping atmosphere
For example by setting the cooling room temperature. Turn off the lights to create a tranquil environment.
4. Exercise regularly
Avoid exercise too close to bedtime because it can keep you awake.
5. Reduce stress
Experiencing stress after a long day often makes us difficult to sleep. We can do yoga, meditation, massage, or a stroll to reduce stress.