Few things in life are as universal and as neglected as sleep. While our society does not necessarily promote healthy lifestyles or sleep patterns, you can take your health into your own hands by implementing these tips for better and more restorative sleep.
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep is crucial for our health including our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Each person has a different level of sleep that is optimal for their needs. Part of it depends of genetic factors and part based on physiological factors such as age, sex, and previous sleep amounts. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a simplified definition for what entails an adequate amount of sleep is a sleep from which one wakes up naturally with a feeling of refreshment.
Negative Effects Of Inadequate Sleep
According to Psych Central, there are a multitude of negative long-term and short-term effects caused by insufficient amounts of quality sleep. These include:
- Lower stress threshold: When you’re tired, even simple and mundane tasks can become more challenging.
- Memory impairment: Deep levels of sleep encourage the growth of connections between cells, and REM assists memory formation.
- Impaired concentration: Alertness and focus can decrease with insufficient levels of sleep. With sleep deprivation, you can have difficulty concentrating on tasks and can be overconfident in your ability to perform.
- Higher resting blood pressure: Increased blood pressure can result from a lack of sleep. Even losing half a night of sleep can increase blood pressure in people with hypertension.
- Increased appetite: If you consistently experience insufficient sleep, you may find yourself eating more in order to maintain levels of necessary energy, and thus increasing your propensity for obesity.
- Greater risk of cardiac morbidity: Several factors can lead to an increased risk of heart attacks. Sleep deprivation is among them, and sleep deprivation leads to increased inflammation.
- Decreased optimism and sociability: Sleep deprivation can impair your mood, making you less hopeful and enjoy social interactions less.
- Lower creativity: Sleep deprivation may decrease the ability to experience emotions and think innovatively.
Also, there may be a link to sleep deprivation over the span of one’s life and the increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. According to an article in Medical News Today, those suffering from Alzheimer’s tend to spend less time asleep, and had higher levels of fragmented sleep compared with others who don’t.
Common Obstacles to Good Sleep
Stimulants such as coffee and nicotine can interfere with sleep patterns. Alcohol can also disrupt sleep, and the resulting quality of sleep will be subpar. Also, excessive noises, high or low temperatures and bright lights can detract from quality sleep. Studies are also showing that the use of mobile devices and watching screens near bedtime can impair the quality and quantity of your sleep, because of a blue light they emit that signals your brain to be awake and alert. Eliminate these factors as much as possible before going to bed to promote the more restful, restorative sleep you need.
5 Tips for Improving Your Sleep
- Avoid caffeine (in coffee, chocolate, cola and tea) and tobacco for four to six hours before heading to bed. If you can, even consider eliminating these stimulants from your lifestyle!
- Consider putting away the screens an hour or so before bed. The blue light and brain activity keeps you awake longer, and may have you tossing and turning in bed at night.
- Create a bedroom environment that is more conducive for sleeping you greatly increase the chance of getting a restful night of sleep. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool to promote restful slumber.
- Establish a pre-sleep routine to condition yourself for bed. Instead of jumping straight from activity to sleep, create a wind-down, transitional period where you partake in relaxing, non-stimulating activities such as recreational reading, taking a bath or practicing relaxation techniques.
- Refrain from lying awake in bed, as this can train your brain to associate your bed with being awake. It is best to only use your bed when you are sleeping. If after 15 minutes you find yourself staring up at the ceiling, completely alert, then get out of bed and read or do some other similarly quiet activity until you feel drowsiness begin to set in again.
Sleep Quantity AND Quality
Getting healthy, restorative sleep is about more than just he number of hours you clock each night. It’s also important to get productive sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed, because sleep is when your brain actively works on improving neuronal plasticity. This can have beneficial effects on your cognition and memory.
Good, quality sleep is so important that we have formulated our Productive Sleep supplement to try and help equip your brain with the resources it needs which may make it easy to slip into sleep and get the restorative rest your brain and body need.