The Importance of Getting Good Sleep
The importance of getting good sleep is directly linked to the benefits of restful sleep. This is true both at a physiological and psychological. Getting bad sleep can greatly affect your body and your brain.
Getting good sleep is as necessary as eating a healthy diet or engaging in regular exercise. It’s an essential biological function for your organism. Remember that you spend a third of your life sleeping!
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends sleeping approximately 8 hours every night. However, this number is a statistical average. Some people need more time to feel well-rested. Others can wake up completely rested after fewer hours of sleep.
The benefits of getting good sleep
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
Sleep, just like hunger, sexual behavior, or intellectual production, is regulated by our biological clock, which is found in the hypothalamus. When this clock is activated, melatonin begins to be secreted. This is the hormone that prepares the body for sleep.
With this in mind, if you sleep a sufficient number of hours and that sleep is restful, this benefits your health in many ways. That being said, if you change your routine drastically, it’s very likely that you’ll experience fatigue, stress, and bad mood.
It improves your mood
A lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your mood. If you don’t rest enough, you feel stressed, apathetic, and mentally drained. Additionally, you can come to feel sad or incapable of completing the tasks you have to undertake.
As soon as your sleep routine is restarted, your energy is also restored. This improves your mood. You become joyful and feel motivated to start your day.
It helps you retain information better
Getting good sleep helps you retain information and is beneficial for your memory. A study published in Psychological Science stated that getting good sleep helps you retain information in the long term.
On the other hand, if your sleep is interrupted throughout the night, your capacity to consolidate memories reduces. This is due to the fact that, while you sleep, your brain works and organizes what was processed during the day.
It improves your appearance
Sleep repairs your skin. If you rest for an appropriate amount of time, you lessen the possibility of getting bags under your eyes and your overall appearance will improve.
It prevents diseases
Your immune system uses sleep to repair itself. This allows it to fight toxins and germs that frequently threaten your health effectively. If you have a weak immune system, you have fewer chances of successfully overcoming infections.
It helps you fight depression
Melanin and serotonin are produced during sleep. These hormones neutralize the effects of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) and they help you feel happier and emotionally stronger.
Changes in sleep
There are factors that might alter your sleep that you can control, such as your dietary habits. However, there are also other involuntary factors you have no control over. Some of these, such as genetics or age, influence the quality of your sleep. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Sleep patterns start to change with age. As you get older, you have more difficulties falling asleep. You also wake up more frequently throughout the night.
The transition between sleeping and waking up becomes more abrupt as the years go by. This makes deep sleep phases lighter.
Studies on the heritability of certain sleep-related patterns reveal an important genetic component. Sleep latency, or the time elapsed between the moment we go to bed until the time we fall asleep, tends to be similar to that of our parents. This is also true for sleep disorders.
Human beings regulate ourselves through 24-hour circadian rhythms. Our periods of concentration, recreation, and rest are distributed throughout this time. When you respect these rhythms, your quality of life improves. This is because you can devote enough time to each necessary activity.
The protein CLOCK (Circadian Locomotor Output Cycles Kaput) regulates these circadian rhythms. The circadian rhythms control, among other things, the hormones involved in sleep processes. Changes in this protein have an immediate negative effect on insomnia, fatigue, and the infamous “jet lag”.
A healthy and balanced diet improves your sleep quality. Digestion is much slower during sleep. Because of this, you don’t get good rest if you fall asleep right after meals. This can also result in stomach pains or insomnia.
Noise negatively affects sleep quality. Your body, even when you’re sleeping, is alert to what’s happening around you. If you can’t control the noise in your environment, you can always use earplugs.
Tips to help you get better sleep
Now that we know the benefits of getting good sleep, here are a few tips to help you get it:
- Your room should stay dark during the night.
- The ideal temperature is between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco consumption.
- Try to maintain a sleep routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Limit your napping time.
- Remove all electronic devices from your room.
- Reduce your consumption of caffeinated drinks.
- Exercise regularly.
“The waking have one common world, but the sleeping turn aside each into a world of his own”.