Sleep and Good Health
When we speak of good health, what quickly comes to our minds is the foods that we eat and our physical activity. However, little do we know that getting a good night's sleep may actually be a way to better health. Experts claim that during sleep, the brain and the body do not rest; instead they perform essential tasks that cannot be dine while the person is awake, such as building and repairing body tissues, production and secretion of essential hormones, and the promotion of mental and physical well-being so that the person can feel refreshed during the day. Some studies actually noted that people who lack sleep seem unattractive, appear less healthy and are easily tired as compared to well-rested people. Lack of sleep can make a person irritable and prone to making unwise decisions which he or she may regret later on; they may also perform poorly at school or at work, are subjected to mood swings, have relationship issues, and are at risk for dangerous medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart disease and other illnesses.
Sleep requirements differ according to age. During the first year of life, a baby should sleep for 16 to 18 hours every night. Those who are below 7 years of age should have sleep amounting to 11 to 12 hours at night. Children 7 years and older need about 10 hours of sleep every night while adults need about 7 to 8 hours of nightly sleep. The number of hours of sleeping also differs from person to person. Some people are termed as short sleepers because they tend to sleep for only 6 hours while some are long sleepers since they sleep for 9 to 10 hours. But whatever the type, the fact is, we adults still need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night to function effectively in the morning.
If you have been losing sleep, you will be glad to know that there are a lot of strategies that can help you with your condition. The tip is to experiment on ways which may work for you. Again, it is interesting to note that the number of hours for sleeping may vary from person to person. You should be able to determine how many hours of sleep do you actually need every night.
Natural Ways to Get A Good Night’s Sleep
The first thing to do is to keep track of your sleeping habits. You can actually create your own sleeping schedule. You should be able to set your body's circadian rhythm, which is its natural sleep-wake cycle. You should go to bed and get up at the same time each day. If you do this, you will notice that you will feel energized the day after. If accidentally, you lose sleep over work or any other concern, you should fill the gap by napping during the day. Avoid sleeping late because it can disrupt your circadian rhythm. You should however nap during the afternoon and limit napping to only 30 minutes or less. If after dinner you get drowsy, you should get up and do something to ward off your sleep until bedtime. In that way you are able to program your body when to sleep and when to get up.
Once you have already discovered the sleeping schedule that works for you, bear in mind that you should not be distracted from it. You should avoid setting up alarm clocks to wake you up. If you find it hard to sleep, you can take a supplement called melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that can help regulate your circadian rhythm and keep it back on track. It is a hormone regulated by light exposure and is responsible for drowsiness when we turn off the lights at night. If you don't want to take supplements, you can help regulate your melatonin levels the natural way. You should make sure that you receive natural light during daytime because working in an office away from natural light can actually disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Avoid spending long hours on the TV and computer all day long because this can suppress production of melatonin and may make you lose sleep during night-time. Make yourself exposed to natural light during the daytime by staying outdoors, engaging in physical activity outdoors and removing your sunglasses in the morning.
For more articles on sleep, you can check out our other articles on this site.