It comes naturally to us.
We need 7-8 hours of good sleep every night to enjoy robust health of mind and body. Each night you fail to get enough sleep, the telltale signs show up the next day, causing you to be irritable, restless, moody and unable to focus on the day’s tasks. While the signs of a poor night’s sleep in themselves are troubling, the greater danger manifests in the form of failure of your vital organs, such as the circulatory, digestive and respiratory organs.
Your body needs quality sleep like it needs oxygen.
Sleep is as important to your health as all the other biological processes that take place in the human body. The benefits of sleep to the human body are so important that you miss out on a whole lot when you fail to get the right dose of it. Think about these:
Being at your best during the day
For a start, a quality night rest is very crucial for high level concentration and daytime productivity. Sleep assists in critical brain functions, such as cognition and focus. A good night’s sleep improves your problem-solving skills and memory function. Does that sound like something you have been missing?
Your body’s immune system is supported by your ability to get the right amount of sleep every single night. A poor sleeping habit has been linked with health challenges, such as common cold. If you find your body’s ability to fight off germs reducing, one of the things you need to check is your sleeping habit: How well do you sleep at night?
You sure don’t want to be fall asleep while driving on a busy highway or operating heavy machineries at the factory or workshop. A good night’s sleep keeps you at alert during the day, making sure you do not become sleepy when you should be working. Drivers and machine operators should particularly be mindful of their sleeping habits. Sleeping as long as you should keeps us all safe.
When you don’t sleep well enough, your body’s ability to break down carbohydrates is affected through the alteration of your hormones, which no doubt would affect your appetite, causing you to gain weight. You sure don’t want unnecessary weight and the health troubles they bring.
As we noted at the beginning, not getting enough sleep makes you irritable, impatient and moody. A good night’s sleep releases chemical substances into your body which keep you upbeat. How about that?
Why then are we a sleep deprived population?
As important as sleep is to the human body, you would think that no one would need to be persuaded to make it an important item on their list of priorities. A study published by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that 30% of British adults are severely sleep deprived, which puts them at risk of mental health and relationship issues. This reality should worry the health and other relevant institutions in the country. The statistics are similar for America and other countries in the developed and developing world. See sleep-problems-in-the-UK.
A lot of factors have been cited as contributing to our inability to enjoy quality sleep at night. Factors like psychological problems, stress, tobacco inhalation or consumption, physical pain, relationship problems, poor air quality in the sleeping room and late night consumption of heavy food or alcohol have been cited as contributing to our inability to enjoy robust sleep at night. Medical challenges, such as head injuries, hyperthyroidism, asthma, hypertension, arthritis, low back pain, kidney diseases, thyroid dysfunctions, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s have also been identified by medical experts as being profoundly responsible for people not being able to get the right amount of sleep to support their bodies when they go to bed at night.
There are also psychiatric troubles like chronic depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, dementia and schizophrenia which play varying roles in the poor sleeping conditions of so many people. Additionally, experts at the American Psychological Association also pointed to other factors such as sleep apnea, nocturnal myoclonus, periodic leg movement during sleep, phase delay sleep disorder, sleep phase misperception and nightmares, which deny many people the joy of a sound night rest. Also, poor habits, such as irregular sleep time which disrupts the brain rhythm, extended time in bed, irregular napping have their roles too. Situational factors like bereavement, unfamiliar sleep environment, jet lag, bed partner or noise in the room can also rob you of a sound sleep. Read more here.
Take care of your environment
So what can sleep-deprived individuals do to improve the situation and avoid the long-term pain that comes with not being able to get enough sleep? There are recommendations by experts, such as medications, dietary changes and the use of mechanical aids to improve breathing at night. Each has its merits and can be effectively combined for an excellent result. It is best to find out the underlying causes—Are they situational as identified above or are they challenges you can handle by simple measures like improving ventilation in your room, shutting out the noise or being more mindful of the time you go to bed? If after addressing these causal factors and there is still no improvement, you may need to see a medical practitioner for a proper diagnosis.
Exercise: How can it help?
Exercising regularly is one of the ways of tackling problems leading to the inability to sleep for a good length of time. Regular exercise, in addition to making you feel better during the day, enables you sleep soundly at night. If you find yourself struggling to sleep, then you may need to get your trainers ready and begin some form of goal oriented physical activities at once.
Here are some of the benefits of exercising regularly:
Stress and anxiety are mostly found in the same sentence whenever they are discussed. Regular exercise can bring down your stress levels to manageable limits. Experts have stated that most sleep problems are traceable to high levels of stress. Exercise is also potent when it comes to dealing with anxiety. Relaxation can be induced by as little as five minutes of exercise, which quietens the parasympathetic nervous system. Mind-body exercises like yoga and stretching can effectively lower the cortisol levels and keep your blood pressure low while keeping your mood balanced. Why don’t you give it a try this evening?
Amount of Sleep
Engaging in physical activities requires a lot of energy which gets you tired and causes your body to demand full rest at night. Exercising regularly and consistently is a sure way to increase the amount of sleep you get each night as your body is pressed for sleep after each round of exercise.
Quality of Sleep
We all have had nights of uncomfortable sleep. But if you exercise consistently, you are able to sleep deeply. This is very important for the restorative functions of the cells in the body. Deep sleep also offers a lot of help to the cardiovascular system, which controls the heart and blood circulation. You sure don’t want to impair the circulation of blood in your body.
Are you sleep deprived?
Are you not getting enough sleep? Do you find yourself becoming irritable during the day? Do you always want to take a short nap at every opportunity because you can’t help feeling sleepy? Whatever the case may be, there is a whole lot that regular exercises can do for you.
You can start with something as basic as 10-15 minutes’ walk around your block, sit ups, press ups and basic stretching—whatever breaks sweat and burns calories. Quality exercise guarantees better sleep and better sleep improves your physical and mental health.