8 Tips for Healthy Sleep: Sleep or Die Earlier.

Ensure Healthy Sleeping Habits become the norm for a good night’s sleep

The shorter you sleep, the shorter you are making your life span.

Humans (and all other species) can never sleep back that which we have previously lost. Let that sink in.

How sleep works.

The hormone melatonin is produced by your brain in reaction to darkness. It aids in sleep as well as the timing of your circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock). Light exposure at night can prevent the generation of melatonin.

It helps regulate the timing of when sleep occurs by signalling darkness throughout the organism but has little influence on the generation of sleep itself to fall asleep. Sleep pressure, caused by a build-up of the chemical adenosine in your brain, is the second-factor affecting sleepiness. You can implement certain habits to increase these 2 chemicals in your brain that will be explained. One way to do the opposite for example is by taking caffeine, this blocks the receptors that adenosine affects (after about 30 minutes).

To identify sleep deficiency: If you didn’t set an alarm clock, would you wake up on time? Do you find yourself re-reading things? Can you function optimally before noon without caffeine? If the answer is no, then keep reading….

More sleep= more benefits, fewer sleep disorders

The more we sleep, the more we reset our brain, body and health each day. Starting with the brain, memory is especially impressive and particularly well-understood. Sleep acts as a memory aid: before learning, it prepares your brain for initially making new memories, and after learning, it cements those memories and prevents forgetting.

The body has identified the type of sleep responsible for overnight motor-skill enhancement. Increases in speed, accuracy, and efficient automaticity were directly related to the amount of stage 2 NREM sleep. In more simple terms this is particularly seen in the last two hours of an eight-hour night of sleep.

For high physical performance, sleep is needed. This is not a shock but still good to point out the benefits post-performance as sleep accelerates physical recovery from common inflammation, stimulates muscle repair, and helps restock cellular energy in the form of glucose and glycogen

Sleep under 8 hours and you will have consequences of poor sleep.

If you obtain anything less than eight hours of sleep a night, and especially less than six hours a night, the following happens: time to physical exhaustion drops by 10 to 30 percent, and aerobic output is significantly reduced. You feel tired, similar impairments are observed in limb extension force and vertical jump height, together with decreases in peak and sustained muscle strength. Add to these marked impairments in cardiovascular, metabolic, and respiratory capabilities that hamper an underslept body, including faster rates of lactic acid build-up, reductions in blood oxygen saturation, and converse increases in blood carbon dioxide, due in part to a reduction in the amount of air that the lungs can expire. Even the ability of the body to cool itself during physical exertion through sweating – a critical part of peak performance – is impaired by sleep loss. For me, the most shocking fact was that lack of sleep is fast becoming recognized as a key lifestyle factor determining whether you will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Lack of sleep will increase hunger and appetite, compromise impulse control within the brain, increase food consumption (especially of high-calorie foods), decrease feelings of food satisfaction after eating, and prevent effective weight loss when dieting. If you want to start your taking your health seriously, sleeping more is a great beginning of your journey to prevent health problems and insomnia.

A study was conducted on hormone levels circulating in the blood of these tired participants. You will find a marked drop in testosterone relative to their baseline levels of testosterone when fully rested. The size of the hormonal blunting effect is so large that it effectively ages a man by ten to fifteen years in terms of testosterone virility.

Naps to the rescue. Not true!

There is no scientific evidence nor research we have suggesting that a drug, a device, or any amount of psychological willpower can replace sleep. Power naps may momentarily increase basic concentration under conditions of sleep deprivation, as can caffeine up to a certain dose. Naps and caffeine can salvage more complex brain functions, including learning, memory, emotional stability, complex reasoning, or decision-making.

The book of Mathew Walker ‘Why We Sleep’ was a fascinating read, I have picked out my favourite tips he suggests for healthier sleep. (Obvious sleeping tips like reducing caffeine/nicotine/alcohol/ large meals/ medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep before bed to improve your sleep)

8 Tips for Healthy Sleep Habits

  1.  Stick to a long-term sleep schedule. Every weekday at least set a bedtime and stick to it (THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP)
  2.  Exercise is great, but not too late in the day. Try to exercise at least thirty minutes on most days but not later than two to three hours before your bedtime. Body temperature can remain high for an hour or two after physical exertion. Should this occur too close to bedtime, it can be challenging to drop your core temperature sufficiently to initiate sleep due to the exercise-driven increase in metabolic rate. Best to get your workout in at least two to three hours before.
  3.  Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. As already discussed, naps don’t solve the problem but if necessary, do it before 3 p.m. during the daytime.
  4. Leave out the stress, and relax before bed. Don’t overschedule your day so that no time is left for unwinding for the next day. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual for quality sleep.
  5. Dark bedroom, cool bedroom, gadget-free bedroom. (No blue light)
  6. Have the right sunlight exposure for your room. Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least thirty minutes each day. If possible, wake up with the sun or use very bright lights in the morning.
  7. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you cannot get to sleep, go somewhere else to relax then come back to bed when ready to sleep.
  8. Do not consume caffeine and alcohol before going to bed at least 5 hours before.

Sleep should be taken seriously. A habit that we all should pay close attention to.

With the tips above hope, you can find a healthy sleep routine for your mental and overall health.

If you like this article, you can read the article Conscious Breathing exercises.

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