Why is sleep important? It is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing. Sleep has a profound effect on all aspects of a person's life. Studies show that there is a clear correlation between the quality and duration of one's sleep and overall health.
why Skipping Sleep is so dangerous
For instance, we are also now discovering that there is an extremely close link between your sleep patterns and your weight. A recent study showed that a large percentage of women who had had a heart attack had experienced a recent and significant sleep disturbance at least three weeks prior to their heart attack. Another study has shown that many heart attacks occur on Monday mornings, and around the time of the seasonal clock changes that we refer to as daylight saving time. Still another study has shown the close link between people who don't get enough sleep and tend to be overweight.
Naturally, a person who sleeps less is going to be awake more, and will therefore have more opportunities to eat. In particular, they will be more likely to eat unhealthy foods as a "pick me up" or as a "reward" for how hard they’re working.
Sleep deficiency can increase the risk of various chronic health related problems such as Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a group of conditions that can put you at a high risk of stroke and diabetes such as;
• Excess Fat
• High Cholesterol
• High Blood Sugar
• Increased Blood Pressure
A few more contributing factors are certain medications such as decongestants, steroids, medicines for high blood pressure, asthma, and depression. Talk to your doctor or mental health provider about any sleeping problem that recurs or persists for longer than a few weeks
Poor sleep also effects the way we think, react, perceive and even work with other people. A person who has remained awake for 24 hours is the equivalent of an intoxicated person. Getting enough good sleep will allow the brain to rest and the body to repair itself and function properly.
Good sleep is also capable of making us feel better on an emotional level. It's more than just avoiding dark circles under your eyes or extra belly fat - good sleep is actually capable of boosting our mood and should not be undervalued.
Consistent good sleep will aid in improving your memory. If you wanted to learn something new, or you plan to do something that requires you to have a strong memory, and then sleep is what you need.
Skipping good sleep is no longer acceptable. Now that you know - act on it!
It has also been said that too little sleep is also related to shorter lifespan. You want to see your family grow up? Then taking the importance of sleep for granted is not an option.
Measure it to manage it!
Know the barriers that are disrupting your sleep. For this, you must track your routine and everyday habits to see what’s preventing you from a good night’s sleep.
All you need to do is start recording your actions for at least a week, including:
• Time You Get into Bed
• Time You Get Up In the Morning
• Your Nap Time During the Day (If Any)
• What/When You Eat
• Sleeping Environment (Everything That Could Be Keeping You Awake)
• Your Pre-Sleep Routine (Including Use of Gadgets and TV Time)
• Number Of Times You Get Up During Sleep (Either Due To Noise, A Full Bladder Or Mere Lack Of Sleepiness)
• Daily Physical Activity
Once you are done gauging your current sleep schedule, you can start to identify things that are causing poor sleep. It could be anything from eating too late or sleeping too much during the day.
Sleep problems can be complex and it can get affected by more than one factor. So, let’s look at a few things that could be getting in the way of good sleep.
• Bedtime Snacks
• No Set Bedtime
• Sleeping Environment - Too noisy, too hot/cold, too bright
To get back to your normal sleeping patterns, start making changes to things you believe are disrupting your sleep and record if removing that trigger helped you sleep better or not. For instance, if you have a habit of sleeping in late and you changed that behavior by waking up early every day, did that help you sleep better or the same?
Create sleeping goals
Essentially, you want to set good sleep goals. Write down the number of hours you desire to sleep, your new bedtime, the time you will get up and the remaining activities of your day in relation to sleep, such as eating and use of gadgets.
Start creating a solid sleep routine, things that you do to prepare yourself for bed, such as creating a good sleeping environment and using deep breathing exercises to start shutting down your brain.
You have to start unraveling your complex sleep issues by eliminating triggers one by one and adopting healthy sleeping habits. You can start meeting your new good sleep needs by making adjustments. Go back to the schedule you have created and see how you can adhere to that goal.
Your sleep diary should help you see sleep patterns and habits that are either helping or not helping. If you are at a loss, you can show your sleep pattern to your doctor as well to see where you are going wrong and where you need help. Here are the things you need to keep track of:
• The Time You Went To Bed And Woke Up.
• How Long and Well You Slept.
• When You Were Awake During the Night.
• How Much Caffeine Or Alcohol You Consumed And When.
• What/When You Ate And Drank.
• What Emotion Or Stress You Had.
• What Drugs Or Medications You Took.
• Exercise You Had During The Day And What Time.
Replace Those Bad Habits With Good Ones!
• Do not drink caffeine 4 -6 hours before bedtime and try not to overdo it in the daytime either
• Do not smoke.
• Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before sleep
• Get regular exercise
• Minimize noise, light and excessive hot and cold temperatures where you sleep
• Develop a regular bed time and go to bed at the same time each night
• Try to wake without an alarm clock
• Go to bed earlier every night
Develop Good Food Habits
If you must eat before bed, eat probiotics, like yogurt, to keep your stomach settled. Also, avoid sugars and choose whole grain products. Eat other foods that induce melatonin, such as proteins, like chicken, turkey, seeds and nuts, and combine them with rice, pasta or potatoes.
Exercise is also excellent for a good night’s sleep. A tired body will help you fall asleep faster and longer, as the brain is busy in regeneration and healing.
Creating White Noise to Sleep With
White noise is something that will cancel out the ambient noise in the background, such as the traffic noise from the street or the blaring radio from downstairs. You can create white noise in several ways, such as getting a small fan and turning it on when it’s time to sleep. There are some companies that actually sell noise-makers apparently to help you sleep.
The reason white noise is better for good sleep is because we cancel out all the other noises. These “other” noises actually trigger our brain for a response. For instance, the traffic noise from outside will make your brain think who would be out so late and the blaring radio downstairs will make you angry. These emotions, however insignificant, cause your brain to stay conscious while white noise turns it off.
All in all research into the nature of sleep has proven how important high quality sleep is to your overall health. In recent years, new evidence also points to the fact that there appears to be a strong connection between how much a person sleeps and how much they weigh.
If you have been struggling to lose weight, it might not be entirely due to what you eat and how active you are. If you lead a busy, high-stress life and often get less than eight hours of sleep per night, chances are that you are running at a sleep deficit. Everyone experiences insomnia at some point in their lives, but if it persists for more than a month, you are in danger of sleep deprivation.
Give yourself permission to go to bed a little earlier tonight without the fear of missing out on anything.