Everybody need their beauty sleep in order to unwind and recharge. We take a look at the importance of sleep and some good benefits of sleep. This article also highlights the sleeping patterns and the factors that makes you sleep.
There are some conditions associated with lack of sleep, and the symptoms therein. And we briefly explained the 20 simple tips that will ensure you sleep fast.
Is sleeping so important
Of all the vital part of the foundation for good health and well-being i.e. (eating, drinking, and breathing), sleeping is one of them and it is equally important. Thus, we all need to get quality sleep on a daily basis and to have enough hours of sleep in order to stay healthy.
Getting enough sleep ensures that you are mentally and physically stable and healthy yielding to safe and improved quality of life.
What happens when you are sleeping greatly affect and set the tone for how your day will be like when you wake up. Your healthy brain function and your physical health is supported and maintained by your body during your sleep.
More importantly, growth and development in babies and teens is supported by sleep. That’s why it is imperative that these sleep well.
The benefits of a good night sleep
There are too many benefits to sleeping, especially when we sleep enough. Consequently, sleep deprivation can have serious adverse health and those should be avoided and prevented. The benefits are;
Healthy Brain Function and Emotional Well-Being
Sleeping enables your brain to prepare for the next day by forming new pathways that makes it possible for you to learn and remember information. Learning is greatly improved by getting enough sleep, that’s why children and adults who sleep well enough always perform their tasks well.
People who ensure they always get a good sleep are said to have good problem-solving skills which help them to always make rational decisions in all their dealings. A good night sleep helps you pay more attention and also makes you more creative.
However, activities in some parts of the brain are altered by a sleep deficiency. Lack of sleep keeps people on the edge, where they become indecisive, and they fail to make even the simplest decision. Such people always have their emotions all over the place, and mostly resistant to change.
Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.
Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Sleep interacts with the blood vessels, that’s why most Heart attacks and strokes occur during early hours of the morning. Therefore, you need at least 7 to 9 hours sleep every night to have a good heart and avoid diseases.
Sleep May Help Prevent Cancer
Growth and tumors are said to be suppressed by a hormone melatonin which is known to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and is cancer protective.
Moreover, melatonin hormone is sensitive to light and as such, people who work night shift are forever on the light thereby reducing their melatonin level. This increase their breast and colon cancer risks.
Furthermore, when you sleep, make sure that your room is dark enough and also avoid the use of electronics to enable your body to create sufficient melatonin.
Sleep Reduces Stress
Sleep deficiency causes strain to your body and thus lead to a state of stress. This is because lack of sleep put the body’s functions on high alert leading to high blood pressure and stress hormones production.
Sadly, it is harder to fall asleep when you have high stress hormones production and the imbalance further increase the risks of heart attack and stroke. Sleep deficiency is luckily treatable using good techniques and some behavioural modifications as discussed in the next topics.
Sleep Reduces Inflammation
The level of inflammation in your body is raised by increased stress hormones caused by sleep deficiency. This is dangerous because it deteriorates the body and increase heart-related conditions, cancer and diabetes risks.
Sleep Makes You More Alert
People who sleep for 7 to 9 hours wake up feeling energized, more focus and ready to face the new challenges that comes with the day. Moreover, using up the fresh energy, doing active things and engaging with your world throughout the day enables a good night sleep which is good.
Sadly, opposite is the case, so don’t be couch potato, use up your energy so you can replenish it.
Sleep Improves Your Memory
Sleep plays an essential role in the consolidation of your memory. It is during your sleep where your day get processed by your brains connecting events, sensory input, feelings, and memories together in order to consolidate them.
More importantly, your brain makes memory and links during your deep sleep making it easier for you to process and remember things much better.
Sleep May Help You Lose Weight
People who sleep less than 7 hours a night are at a high risk of being overweight and obese. This is due to the fact that sleep deficiency causes imbalance to ghrelin and leptin, the hormones in the body that regulate appetite.
Once these hormones are disrupted, people tend to overeat resulting in weight gain which is not good for your health long-term.
Napping Makes You Smarter
Daytime naps are very beneficial to your health as they improve memory, cognitive function, and mood. Some people say napping is the best alternative to drinking caffeinated beverages.
People who take naps few times a week are said to be more productive and has a lower risks of stress.
Sleep May Reduce Your Risk of Depression
A good night sleep improves your serotonin levels and thus reduce depression. Most people who suffer from depression have serotonin deficiency and we must all strive to keep our levels a good level.
Sleep Helps the Body Repair Itself
Sleeping has a healing effect. When we are sleeping, the body is busy repairing all damages; UV rays, stress and other harmful exposures. The repair is done by proteins molecules that form the building blocks for cells and these cells are produced by your body while you were sleeping.
Daytime Performance and Safety
Most people with sleep deficiency suffer from micro-sleep. This happens when a person has brief moments of sleep when they are normally awake and sometimes unaware. Such people will just realize there are some brief moments in their day they don’t remember what was happening.
For example, travelling to a place without remembering some part of the trip both as the driver or a passenger without moments where a person is sure they slept. That could be very dangerous to you and the people around you.
It is said that drowsy driver has more effect and chance of accidents than drunk drivers. Moreover, more workplace incidences and accidence are attributable to micro-sleep and some of these can result in large-scale damage (nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships aviation accidents) or worse, deaths.
Normal sleeping Patterns
The rapid eye movement (REM) and the non-rapid eye movement non-REM are the two basic types of sleep which are equally important. The deep sleep or slow wave sleep is referred to as the Non-REM and REM is the opposite of the Non-REM.
The two types work in a 3-5 cycles each night for people with regular sleeping patterns. Getting enough sleep means having to experience both these types of sleep in a night.
Inside all of us there is an internal “body clock’’ controlling you sleeping patterns that follows a 24-hour rhythm repeatedly. The name of that body clock is the circadian rhythm which influence and affect cellular, tissue and organ function “What Makes You Sleep?”).
What Makes You Sleep
There are many factors playing a role in preparing your body to sleep and wake up.
it is also referred to as an internal body clock because it controls when you’re awake and when your body is ready for sleep.
A compound that is linked to the drive for sleep. The level of adenosine in your brain continues to rise while you’re awake to signal a shift toward sleep. However, your body breaks down adenosine while you sleep.
A hormone that is triggered by darkness. Melatonin hormone helps signals your body that it’s time to prepare for sleep, and it helps you feel drowsy. As the evening wears on, the amount of melatonin in your bloodstream peaks and this peak prepares your body for sleep.
Melatonin is reduced or disrupted by light and as such you should avoid bright light at night like on your phones, TV’s etc.
This hormone naturally prepares your body to wake up and it is release when the sun rises to prepare your body to wake up.
Sleep Deprivation and Sleep Deficiency
When you don’t get enough sleep you develop a condition called sleep deprivation. While sleep deficiency is broader than sleep deprivation. When you have two or more of these symptoms we say you have sleep deficiency;
- When you have sleep deprivation.
- Being out of sync with your body natural sleeping clock, where you sleep at the wrong time of the day.
- Getting all of the different kinds of sleep, which means you don’t sleep well enough.
- Having a sleep disorder impairing the quality of your sleep.
Chronic problems linked with sleep deficiency
There is a link between sleep deficiency and many chronic health problems, including;
- heart disease,
- kidney disease,
- high blood pressure,
- and depression.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) sleep vary from person to person and the table below work as the age-specific general recommendations for different.
|AGE||Recommended Amount of Sleep|
|Infants aged 4-12 months||12-16 hours a day (including naps)|
|Children aged 1-2 years||11-14 hours a day (including naps)|
|Children aged 3-5 years||10-13 hours a day (including naps)|
|Children aged 6-12 years||9-12 hours a day|
|Teens aged 13-18 years||8-10 hours a day|
|Adults aged 18 years or older||7–8 hours a day|
Signs and symptoms of sleep deficiency
Although the main symptom of chronic sleep loss is excessive daytime sleepiness, but other symptoms include;
- Mood swings
- learning impairment
- inability to concentrate
20 Simple Tips That Help You Fall Asleep Quickly
These tips are important to know so as to ensure you sleep enough for your good health. falling asleep is a mission for some people and that’s why these tips are compiled to help such;
1 – Lowering the Room Temperature
You might have a hard time falling asleep If your room is too warm because of the changes of your body temperatures as you fall asleep where your hands and feet increases as your core temperature decrease.
Making sure the temperature in the room is about 15–23°C (60–75°F), that is not too warm and it won’t make it hard for you to fall asleep.
While taking a warm bath or shower can increase you temperature, it is through the cooling off time where the body could signal the brain and put you to sleep.
2 – Use the “4-7-8” Breathing Method
This powerful breathing method is brilliant for making people unwind before bed. It is a breathing method that has calming effects and helps you relax. This method can also be used when you feel stressed and anxious as it calms your nerves too.
The steps to do the “4-7-8” Breathing Method:
- First, the tip of your tongue must be placed behind your upper front teeth.
- through your mouth exhale completely and make a whoosh sound.
- Keep your mouth closed while inhaling through your nose as you are counting to four mentally.
- While holding your breath, count to seven mentally.
- Open your mouth and exhale completely, while making a whoosh sound, counting to eight mentally.
- this cycle can be repeated at least three more times.
This technique is both relaxing and calming and can sure put you to sleep, fast.
3 – Get on a Schedule
Get a schedule so as to assist your internal circadian rhythm to get into a routine of sleeping at wake at the same time each day. It will be easier to fall asleep and wake up around the same time once your body adjusts to this schedule.
More importantly, allow you mind to wind down in the evening before going to bed by giving yourself at least 30 minutes to an hour. It is a good preparation for you and it is very relaxing.
4 – Experience Both Daylight and Darkness
The body’s internal clock is influenced by light. Moreover, the circadian rhythms are disrupted by irregular light exposure and this makes it harder to fall asleep at night or stay awake during the day.
You must therefore expose your body to bright light during the day as it tells your body to stay alert and keep your room darker at night to promote sleepiness. Some people even use the blackout curtains to ensure the room is dark enough at night.
5 – Practice Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness
These are good tools to calm the mind and keep your body relaxed. The practice of breathing patterns is encouraged by yoga and also the body movements that release accumulated stress and tension in your body.
Melatonin levels are increased by meditation assisting the brain to achieve sleepiness easily. The maintenance of focus on the present without any worry is achieved by mindfulness exercise which help you fall asleep fat.
You actually learn to shelve your worries, and focus on resting your body so you can wake up fresh to deal with all the challenges at the right time, on the right state of mind.
For best results all these exercises could be adopted and practice for fast and effective results.
5 – Do Not Look at Your Clock
Clock watching is very common among insomnia sufferers. Such behaviour of clock watching is obsessive, obstructive and can lead to anxiety which will keep you awake.
Moreover, when you wake up in the middle of the night, DO NOT look at your clock or watch. You don’t want to ruin your good night’s rest. That’s why it is not a good practice to keep a clock in your bedroom.
7 – Avoid Naps During the Day
People who struggle to have a good night sleep tend to nap during the day. Although napping is generally good, it might not be such a good idea for people with insomnia as it completely affects their night time sleep.
8 – Watch What and When You Eat
You must be mindful of what you eat before you sleep as it can influence or rather affects your sleep. Apart from overweight and obesity, taking high carb diet can negatively impact your sleep. Eating a high carbs diet will sure make you sleep, but it won’t be a restful sleep.
What makes you get a restful and deeper sleep is high-fat meals. Thus, there should be a balance of low-carb/high-fat diet at night to promote a restful sleep. Also, if you still prefer your high carbs diet, make sure you eat it at least 4 hours before you go to bed.
It is actually a good practice to eat earlier in the night to allow your body to digest your food before you retire for the night as this will also prevent obesity.
Other foods to that help you sleep better;
- Chamomile tea
- Kiwi fruit
- Tarty cherry juice
- Fatty fish
- Passion flower tea
- White rice
- Cottage cheese
9 – Listen to Relaxing Music
Listening to soothing music can help even the people with chronic insomnia of sleep deficiency fall asleep fast. Several studies reported a significant sleeping quality on participants who listened to soothing music before they sleep. (source)
However, some people just cannot focus or sleep with any noise or destruction no matter how soft. In this case, ensure all noise is blocked, all electronics are on silence or off to promote uninterrupted, deep and restful sleep.
10 – Exercise During the Day
The production of serotonin in the brain is boosted by exercise and thus increase the duration and the quality of your sleep. Exercise also decrease cortisol, the hormone that cause stress. Doing a moderate exercise should be enough to get your body to sleep fast at night without overdoing it.
Moreover, extreme training only does the opposite and it is not advisable to do it for this reason. Earlier workout is said to be more effective than afternoon workouts. This gives your body time to recover throughout the day and then ensure you have quality and quantity of your sleep.
11 – Get Comfortable
The kind of mattress, bedding and pillows has such a remarkable effect on the depth and quality of sleep. Your mattress should be medium-firm to ensure you get a good quality sleep without muscular discomfort and sleep disturbances.
Moreover, orthopedic pillows are said to be better than feather or memory foam pillows. The goal is to be as comfortable as possible without keeping your neck curved and also by avoiding any discomfort.
Additionally, to reduce body stress and help improve your sleep, use weighted blanket. Also, wear clothes that are not too tight or too heavy to ensure whatever you wear gives you a pleasant temperature throughout the night.
That’s why you will need to wear different clothing in different season to keep up with temperature changes.
12 – Turn Off All Electronics
Using electronics like video games, using a mobile phone and social networking and watching TV can be stimulating and thus make it harder for you to fall asleep. Few minutes before you sleep, all electronics must be disconnected to get rid of all distractions.
13 – Try Aromatherapy
This is very relaxing and calming and put you to sleep very fast. Moreover, lavender and damask rose are popular scents with positive effects on sleep. For maximum results you can infuse your room with relaxing scents that encourage sleep by using essential oil diffuser.
14 – Practice Journaling
Journaling as well as focusing on positive thoughts help you sleep better because of its calming powers. You need to write down all the positive events that happened during the day. Doing that gives you a sense of gratefulness, and happiness while downgrading stressful events.
More importantly, avoid letting your thoughts run in circles because these can potentially generate negative emotions and disturb your sleep.
15 – Limit Caffeine and Drink a Soothing Beverage
When it is night time, the body must get into a relaxing mode instead of an alert mode. That why drinking coffee is not such a great practice as it has a way of keeping you alert and stimulated. Thus you must avoid food rich in caffeine; like chocolate, coffee, sodas and energy drinks.
Replace caffeinated beverages with soothing liquids like chamomile teas, etc. those who like caffeinated beverages can still enjoy them but make sure they get their last one at least 6 hours before bed.
16 – Adjust Your Sleep Position
We cannot deny that individual preferences play an important role in choosing sleep position i.e. back, stomach, or side. Some reviews have shown that sleeping on your back cause sleep apnea and snoring and can also lead to blocked airways.
Side sleeping position is said to give you a high-quality sleep experience.
17 – Read Something
One of the good activity to help you wind down before bed is reading. reading bedtime stories promote longer sleep for babies, that’s why babies love them.
Please be careful to ONLY use the traditional paper based books as the electronic books can decrease the melatonin secretion due to the light emitted by electronic books which interferes with sleep.
18 – Focus on Trying to Stay Awake
There is a belief that forcing yourself to sleep dramatically drops your chances of falling asleep. Therefore, you should try to stay awake instead of forcing yourself to sleep as a “paradoxical intention.” When you stay awake you don’t pressurize or stress yourself and as such you don’t get anxious. This strategy see to work.
19 – Visualize Things That Make You Happy
Replace worrying and stressing by visualizing a place or things that makes you feel happy and calm. This takes your mind away from things that induce stress and anxiety and take you to your happy place. The result is a good quality sleep.
20 – Try Sleep-Enhancing Supplements
Supplement encourage sleep by boosting the production of sleep promoting hormones or by calming brain activity. However, you should not be too dependent on supplements to a point where you cannot fall asleep without them.
Good supplements to help you fall asleep include :
The activation of neurotransmitters responsible for sleep. These must be taken with food to improve sleep. Take 200–400 mg doses of per day.
5-hydroxytryptophan (5 HTP)
This supplement is good in boosting serotonin production linked to the regulation of sleep. These supplements can be taken either once daily or in divided doses in 300–500 mg doses of per day, this is effective in treating insomnia.
Melatonin can also be taken as a supplement to help regulate your sleep. The body also makes this hormone on its own. Taking 0.5–5 mg dose at least 30 minutes before bed will sure improve sleep quality
Theanine help with relaxation as an amino acid with sedative properties. Taking 200 mg per doze day is effective.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
These are good as they inhibit certain transmitters and may help the central nervous system relax. Also, your brain can also produce this compound. Take 250–
500 mg dose, and if you take more than 1,000 mg it will be an overdose and it will be harmful to your health.
Sleeping is a daily and a basic need. And we need to behave accordingly if we want to be able to have a healthier sleeping patterns to improve the quality of our lives.