Proper sleep makes our life complete. Sleep is a vital necessity, not an optional luxury.
“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
According to Russell Foster, professor of Circadian Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, sleep is a multifunction state in which areas of the brain are more active, and huge bouts of absolutely critical functions are performed. That’s why we fall apart so rapidly if we don’t get sleep. Let’s consider this article as a wake-up call for all of us. It’s high time for us to acknowledge how significantly our abilities are hindered because of a lack of sleep.
The fact is the value of healthy sleeping is quite underestimated in society today. Sometimes we sacrifice proper sleep to increase our productivity, which these days everyone is obsessed with. But the sad fact is routinely the compromise to our sleep is just self-imposed. Instead of providing our mind and body with decent rest, we keep scrolling through our social media feed in order to get a quick release of dopamine (a “happy hormone”).
When it comes to sleep, we need to look at the consequences of quality sleep versus poor sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, the following are the most prominent effects to consider.
Healthy Brain Function
Sleeping after learning not only helps us set memories, but also retains them longer. But the latest research suggests that we should sleep not only after learning but also before we consume any valuable information to essentially hit the “save button” on those new memories, points out Matt Walker, a British sleep scientist at the University of California, Berkeley.“Sleeping before learning is actually preparing your brain, almost like a dry sponge ready to initially soak up new information. And without sleep, the memory circuits of the brain essentially become waterlogged, as it were, and you can’t absorb new memories”.
As for those short sleepers, who prefer to stay up at night in order to tick some extra tasks off their to-do list and achieve greater productivity, there is bad news. It simply doesn’t work this way. Conversely, with good quality sleep, you will be able to perform at your best and get more done. A proper sleep prepares your brain for a new day. It helps you to be able to pay attention, be creative, solve problems, and make decisions.
According to sleeping scientists, improper sleep threatens not just learning and productivity but life itself: compromised sleep means a compromised immune system, hence the “significant links between short sleep duration and your risk for the development of numerous forms of cancer” now being discovered.
Sleep deprivation weakens our immune system and makes us more vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections. This occurs due to the dramatic impact of short sleep at so-called natural killer cells — the secret service agents of our immune system. These cells identify dangerous, unwanted elements and eliminate them. The recent study shows us that 4 hours night sleep restriction leads to a 70% drop in natural killer cell activity. Therefore, a lack of proper sleep can cause a state of immune deficiency and increase the risk for the development of numerous forms of cancer. But this is not the last remarkably depressing news for today.
As stated by John Hopkins School of Medicine, sleep deprivation causes a 50% higher risk for obesity if you get less than 5 hours of sleep nightly. A growing body of research suggests that children and adults who get too little sleep tend to weigh more than those who get enough sleep. Poor sleep spikes the level of ghrelin (the hunger hormone), while the level of leptin (appetite-control hormone) falls. The inability to keep your weight under control also contributes to emotional letdown, which, in its turn, is one of the sufficient sleep deprivation effects to be considered.
There is no wonder that lack of sleep makes us testy, irritable, and short-tempered. Prolonged sleep deprivation has been connected to changes in the brain such as reduced receptor sensitivity and changes in functional communication between brain regions. The more depressing fact is, when we don’t get proper sleep for a couple of nights in a row, we start failing to control our emotions and judgment. Furthermore, sleep debt deprives us of the ability to notice those mood swings and to take the measures necessary. Still, emotional well-being is not the last thing on the list.
The cherry on the cake is that constant sleep deprivation can cause a real-life threat. Berkeley sleep scientist Matt Walker points out the statistically proven connection between mortality rate changes and such phenomenon as daylight saving time. Now, in the spring, when we lose one hour of sleep, we see a subsequent 24% increase in heart attacks that following day. In the autumn, when we gain an hour of sleep, we see a 21% reduction in heart attacks. Isn’t that incredible? And we see exactly the same profile for car crashes, road traffic accidents, even suicide rates.
No time should be lost: we need to move from words to deeds! Aside from obvious recommendations to cut down caffeine and alcohol consumption and try to avoid napping during the day, we introduce you 5 effective and easy to apply tips aimed at adjusting your sleep schedule.
Top 3 Medically-Approved Healthy Sleep Tips.
Go to bed only if sleepy.
Many of us have some trouble falling asleep when we just keep tossing and turning in bed.
Don’t stay awake in bed for too long. If you fail to fall asleep less than in 10–15 minutes after getting into bed, you should get out of it, leave your bedroom and change your activity. The thing is when you stay in bed awake for quite a while your brain begins to associate your bedroom with a place of wakefulness. To break this association we should go to bed only in case we are sleepy not in order to get sleepy there.
But what should we do in case we want to get asleep faster without wandering around the house? According to sleep scientists, the best way to achieve sleep quickly is to relax your muscles, listen to calming nature sounds or white noise, and breathe deeply and slowly.
The good news is you don’t have to keep all that in mind anymore. Make it easier — get one of the sleeping assistant applications that will guide you to sleep. As for example, try Restly. It’s one of the most popular sleep assisting apps that are based on a secret military method of falling asleep within 2 minutes! Restly combines a pleasant user-friendly interface and great functionality. It offers voice guidance, nature sounds, smart alarm based on sleep cycles, sleeping timer and statistics on the sleep improvement progress, so we can keep it on track.
Keep it cool.
Body temperature correlates with overall sleep quality. A cooler core body temperature is associated with sleep. Conversely, warmer core temperature is energizing. Cool fresh air is key to a sound sleep. Sleep experts suggest keeping optimal bedroom temperature which is 16–18°C (60–65°F). Humidity is also an issue of great importance to our health. Ideally, the air should be around 50% humidity. You will discover a whole new level of sleep simply by adjusting your bedroom air to the optimal value.
Regular as clockwork.
Many of us misunderstood the concept of the right time to go to bed. Earlier doesn’t necessarily mean better. The best way to adjust your sleep schedule is to track what exact amount of time sleeping is perfect for you and then you can realize the optimal time for you to fall asleep. Once it's discovered try to stick to it on a regular basis. And once again, Restly can be of great help to fix your sleeping schedule. Go to bed at the same time, no matter whether it’s the weekday or the weekend.
All things considered, we believe it’s high time for all of us who suffer from sleep disorder to stop ignoring the problem and take action. Every human being has its right to full night sleep. It’s our vital necessity, not an optional luxury.
💤 Do you have trouble sleeping? How fo you fight insomnia? Let me know in the comments below 👇👇👇