Getting enough sleep is essential for helping a person maintain optimal health and well-being. When it comes to their health, sleep is as vital as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.
Modern-day living doesn’t always embrace the necessity for adequate sleep. Yet, it is important that people make an effort to get enough sleep regularly.
The following are some of the many benefits health professionals associate with getting a good night’s rest.
Recommended Sleeping Hours
From person to person, the need for sleep varies. Age plays a crucial factor too, as the older we get the less we need it.
The following breakdown should make things a little clearer:
- Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours
- Infants (4–12 months): 12–16 hours
- Toddler (1–2 years): 11–14 hours
- Preschool (3–5 years): 10–13 hours
- School age (6–12 years): 9–12 hours
- Teen (13–18 years): 8–10 hours
- Adult (18–60 years): 7-plus hours
- Adult (61–64 years): 7–9 hours
- Adult (65+ years): 7–8 hours
Your body temperature changes as you fall asleep. Your body cools down when you lie down and warms up when you get up.
If your room is too warm, you might have a hard time falling asleep. Setting your thermostat or AC to a cool temperature between 60–67°F (15.6–19.4°C) could help.
Temperatures will vary from person to person, so find the temperature that works best for your situation.
Taking a short 10 minute warm bath or warm shower could also help speed up the body’s temperature changes. As your body cools down afterward, this can send a signal to your brain to go to sleep. Which can lead to your sleep quality and your overall sleep efficiency, which is the amount of actual sleep time. As opposed to lying in bed waiting to fall asleep.
A comfortable mattress and bedding can have a remarkable effect on the depth and quality of sleep.
A medium-firm mattress has been shown to positively affect sleep quality and prevent sleep disturbances and muscular discomfort. The quality of your pillow shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Lastly, the fabric of the clothes you wear to bed can affect how well you stay asleep. It’s crucial that you choose comfortable clothing made of fabric that helps you keep a pleasant temperature throughout the night. Cold cotton has been known to help you feel more comfortable whilst sleeping.
Limiting caffeine in your system whilst opting for a soothing drink can make the world of difference to sleep quality. Coffee is the perfect drink to stimulate alertness and fight fatigue during your workouts though. It is recommended to choose a relaxing drink like chamomile before bed.
Although the effects of caffeine vary from person to person, it’s recommended that you refrain from consuming it at least 6 hours before bedtime.
Foods and beverages that may include caffeine are:
- energy drinks
Good quality sleep may depend on your body position during the night.
There are three main sleeping positions:
- Your Side
Traditionally, it was believed that back sleepers had a better quality of sleep.
However, research has shown that this might not be the best position to sleep in, as it could lead to blocked airways, help cause sleep apnea, and snoring.
Although individual preferences play an important role in choosing sleep position, the side position seems to be linked to high-quality sleep.
Reading Before Bed
Reading could be a good activity to help you unwind before bed.
However, it’s important to understand the differences between reading from an e-book and a traditional paper book.
Electronic books emit blue light, which reduces melatonin secretion. Lowered melatonin levels make it harder for you to fall asleep and cause you to feel tired the next day.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you read from a physical book in order to relax and improve your sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, enough sleep for adults is between 7 and 9 hours a night, and athletes may benefit from as many as 10 hours. Sleep is as important to athletes as consuming enough calories and nutrients, if not more as crucial repairs to the muscles are made then.
We all know the human body heals during sleep. Some of the other benefits include:
- Better Performance
- Greater Intensity During Workouts
- More Energy Available
- Better Co-ordination
- Faster Speed
- Better Mental Functionalities
A Healthy Heart
One huge risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. Getting adequate rest each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself.
Doing so can reduce the chances of sleep-related conditions such as apnea and promote better overall heart health.
A Strong Immune System
Getting enough sleep is necessary for various reasons, including maintaining your immune system, metabolic functions, and memories, as well as regulating your body weight.
Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate, and recover. The immune system is no exception to this relationship. Some research shows how better sleep quality can help the body fight off infections.
Although more research is needed into this, be highly aware of the importance sleep has on the body’s immune system and overall quality of life.
Meditation, Yoga and Mindfulness are tools to calm the mind and relax the body. Furthermore, they’ve all been shown to improve our sleeping.
Meditation can noticeably enhance melatonin levels and help the brain in achieving a sleepy state.
Yoga leads with the practice of breathing techniques and body positions that release tensions stored up in our bodies. This can help your nightly rest too, which helps the quality you’re getting and the duration too.
Finally, Mindfulness may aid in creating a more present mindset, lower daily anxieties and even function better during the day.
Practicing one or more of these strategies can help get you a sweet slumber which should help you wake up feeling reenergized.
The right Music is said to dramatically improve quality of sleep. It can help chronic sleep disorders, such as insomnia. This works by helping you fall asleep quicker, especially if you’re opting for more of the Binaural variety, Classical or Buddist work well too.
Notable studies reveal that soothing music played for around 45 minutes before bedtime had a deeper sleep compared to those who didn’t listen to music.
If music isn’t part of your nightly routine, using comfortable ear plugs to shut out stray noises also help you fall asleep faster and promote a relaxing sleep.
Have you heard about the benefits of Positive Visualisations? Think about replacing your usual lying in bed and worrying about stressful things, visualize a place, situation or time in your life that you’d like to get to. Be sure that could make all the difference in helping you to feel calm and serene.
Social & Emotional Intelligence
It’s reported that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have issues with recognizing the emotions and expressions of those around them.
Their abilities to respond to emotional stimuli, their adaptability to situations happening around them, even their mood and self-control are all affected due to improper sleep.
These upcoming supplements are known to either boost the production of sleep-promoting hormones or by calming brain activity. These are geared towards helping you fall asleep better and stay asleep for the duration your body needs. These include:
- Magnesium – This element helps activate the neurotransmitters responsible for sleep.
- 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). The amino acid 5-HTP boosts the production of serotonin, which has been linked to the regulation of sleep.
- Melatonin – The body naturally produces the hormone melatonin, but it can also be taken as a supplement to help regulate your sleep.
- L–theanine – L-theanine is an amino acid with sedative properties. Which could help with relaxation.
- GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) – GABA is a compound produced in the brain. It inhibits certain transmitters and may help the central nervous system relax.