Amidst work, chores, and social time, sleep has gone far below many people’s priority list. Some professionals even consider it an enemy. The truth is that sleep is not a lifestyle; it is a necessity.
What is Sleep?
Sleep is a dynamic, yet active involuntary process where the brain works out pathways for new insights and repairs cells. The sleep process occurs in 5 stages:
▪️ The first four forms the Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) which is for restorative functions, and
▪️ the fifth is Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep for cognitive process and dreaming.
The body’s biology follows a natural 24-hour clock pattern called the Circadian rhythm. This clock runs in the background of the brain and is triggered by daylight (we feel alert) and darkness (we feel drowsy). It can also be triggered by artificial bright light, stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, making one feel awake even if it’s night time.
Why Should You Take Sleep Seriously?
Research shows that the amount of sleep you need for optimal vitality is 7-8 hours. Inadequate duration of sleep causes sleep deprivation or sleep insufficiency.
Continuous deprivation of sleep would lead to sleep deficiency, in which lost grounds are impossible to recover, hence posing risks of several health conditions.
Here are Reasons You Should Take Your Sleep as Seriously as You Drink Water This New Year
1. SLEEP IMPROVES LEARNING, MEMORY, AND MOOD.
Have you ever noticed how bad your mood is on days you stayed up late? Many times we have trouble grasping new explanations, learning new skills, and even remembering a colleague’s name. The restorative activities of brain cells during sleep strengthen cognitive functions. Thus, the longer you sleep, the stronger your ability to concentrate, learn and remember information. Getting enough sleep will also put you in a good mood.
2. PROTECTION OF PHYSICAL HEALTH
Quality and adequate quantity of sleep prevent you from several health conditions.
Conversely, sleep deprivation exposes one to a myriad of health problems
a. APPETITE IMBALANCE
A relationship exists between sleep and diet. The hormones involved in this process are called appetite hormones, namely, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat. The quantity is increased when one is awake or sleep-deprived. Leptin, on the other hand, tells you to stop eating, and are in reduced quantities when awake. Insufficient sleep causes increased appetite and consequently, binge-eating. In addition, metabolism becomes slower with more food to process when the system is about closing up for the day.
Several studies show that less than 7 hours of sleep at night regularly is a risk factor for obesity. The appetite hormones earlier mentioned are implicative in this condition. Insufficient sleep also triggers the “reward” areas in the brain to crave high fat, high caloric foods. Consumption of these and inadequate metabolism results in increased weight gain.
Metabolic changes occur with chronic insufficient sleep, such as higher cortisol levels leading to increased blood glucose. Increased weight gain can also lead to an increased risk of insulin resistance.
d. CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Research has shown that the disruption of the appetite hormones and impaired endothelial function leads to inflammatory conditions that precipitate increased blood pressure. Individuals with inadequate sleep are 40% more likely to develop hypertension and stroke.
Regular low sleep hours can impair functioning, increase fatigue and lead to mood changes, and ultimately pose a risk of depression.
3. BUILDS IMMUNITY
Sleep significantly improves the immune system. It repairs and restores the functions of cells needed to fight diseases. Just to add, a good immune system is superb for glowing skin!
Here are a few tips to build a quality sleep and sleeping routine:
1. First, look at how much you sleep vs how well you sleep.
2. Pick a time you can sleep and wake up every day including weekends.
3. Create an optimal sleeping environment
4. Do not drink caffeine after mid-afternoon, i.e, from 2 pm, instead drink water.
5. Have a light meal.
6. Do not drink water within an hour before bedtime.
7. Put away your devices, they emit blue light, which is an enemy to your sleep.
You have a lot missing if you stick to that 4-hour sleep. Take charge of your health and well-being and go for more sleep.