Habib Health Fitness

How sleep affects physical health and 5 ways to get quality sleep at night

Sleeping is a necessity; it allows for your body to “recharge” but the act of not sleeping is often pushed to its limits by many because they don’t see the importance of sleep. They don’t recognize it as a necessity but more of a luxury if you meet the required amount of sleep, for children it is recommended for 10-13 hours of sleep, for teens it is 8-10, while for adults it is 7-8 hours. If not met, you may experience sleep deprivation and other dangerous consequences

Sleep deprivation:Sleep deprivation happens when you do not get enough sleep;this could be because of a disorder such as insomnia which causes you to have trouble falling asleep, or just because you are out of sync with your body’s natural clock. Your natural clock is what time you would naturally wake up and go to sleep, so if you go against that for any reason you are disrupting your sleep schedule. This can really take a toll on your physical health.

Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep puts you at risk for:

  • Type Two Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Accidents caused by drowsiness/human error
    • Such as car accidents
  • Poor immune function
    • More infections and colds
  • Memory issues
  • Poor balance

Complications of Sleep deprivations:

  • Reduced function: Productivity and efficiency in work/school is much harder, you’re out of focus because of how exhausted you are, which also makes task take longer than usual. This is also because your mental and physical capabilities are not at full capacity.
  • Microsleep:Which arebrief moments of sleep while you are awake, it seems like you were out of it, and you usually don’t remember what you were doing while it’s happening. That can be very dangerous, especially if you are doing an activity that can really harm you if you are not paying attention, like driving or cooking.
  • Mood swings:Crankiness, feeling angry and impulsive decisions is something many people feel when they haven’t gotten enough sleep. You may also experience trouble controlling your emotions and coping mechanisms as well, which can be a problem socially, whether you are in a professional environment like work or school or a casual one with friends and family. Depression can also be a complication from sleep deprivation which can lead to suicidal thoughts if severe enough.

Benefits of sleeping the recommended amount of sleep:

  • improves learning and memory retention: it allows for your brain to prepare for the next day by creating new pathways while you sleep.
  • Improves function and safety:
  • helps repair the body, for instance blood vessels and the heart itself, it allows for them to rest, lowering the risk for any cardiovascular diseases, and the repair of cells and tissues.
  • keeps certain hormones in check, such asit helps how your body reacts to insulin, a hormone that controls your sugar level, which in turn helps prevent type two diabetes. Also, growth and development, it triggers a hormone that encourages growth, and muscle mass.
  • Decreases risk for adverse health conditions
  • It helps manage your appetite.

5 ways you can improve your quality of sleep

  1. Set a sleep schedule:

Your body runs on a 24-hour cycle, and you should plan to go to sleep at a certain time and wake up at a certain time, including weekends.  Doing this can regulate your sleep pattern, and consider having the same nighttime routine as well, that can help your body prepare for bed, and try to make it a relaxing activity. For instance, a warm bath, reading, etc.

  1. Exercise:

Exercising regularly is very great way to getting a good night’srest, it makes you fall asleep easier. According to help guide, exercising just 10 minutes a day will improve the quality of sleep. They also say the more intense the workout is the better sleep benefits there will be. But make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime, try plan your workouts at a time that will end three hours before your bedtime, exercising close to bedtime can energize you instead of tire you out.

  1. Turn down the lights:

When it is dark, your body releases this hormone called melatonin, which makes you drowsy and signals you to go to sleep. But bright lights from electronic devices such as tablets, televisions, phones and more can prevent the correct of melatonin from being released. This causes you to stay up longer and disrupts your sleeping patterns. If you still want to be on your phone before bedtime, turn the brightness down, this will combat the possible melatonin issue and the stimulating properties a bright phone/electronic device has.

  1. Be cautious of what you eat and when:

Stay away from food that stimulates the brain, for instance food like caffeine, chocolate, and refined carbs such as white rice, and sugary foods/drinks, it is recommended by the CDC to not consume these products a few hours before you go to sleep. They say this because it disrupts the “winding down” process that prepares you to go to sleep, and if you do fall asleep, it affects you in your sleep as well. Also avoid heavy meals before bedtime and drinking too many liquids, this can cause frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. If you do want a little snack, try to something light, for example a banana or yogurt.

  1. Create a comfortable sleeping environment:

Make yourself as comfortable as possible, ask yourself the following questions. Is my bed comfortable? Do I need a new mattress? Does any body part of mine ache when I wake up? Am I too warm or cold while I sleep? Is my room dark enough?If you answered one or more of these questions with an unfavorable answer, you should try to improve that to see if that helps with your sleeping. It is recommended to keep your room at 65 degrees Fahrenheit, they say this, so you don’t “overheat” while you are sleeping.Make sure your room is dark, like stated earlier that can trigger the melatonin to make you drowsy.If noise is an issue, invest in some ear plugs, a sound machine, or a fan. You might have to invest in a new mattress and/or pillows to help get comfortable. Another way to create a great sleep environment is to make your bedroom just for sleeping, try not to do work in there or have a heated discussion, that can stimulate the brain and disrupt the environment you are trying to create.

Sources: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/health

https://www.cdc.gov/features/sleep-heart-health/index.html

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/getting-better-sleep.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health/science-sleep-why-you-need-7-8-hours-night#live-longer

https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#1