Why do we need to sleep?
Sleeping is as much of a necessity to a healthy life as food and regular physical activity. It helps your body to rest and give it time to regenerate and grow body tissue. Focus of this article is on your sleep quality and what to do to improve your sleep quality.
What is sleeping ?
Sleeping looks like a passive state. Your body calms down, and you are unconscious.
But sleeping is an active process with increased brain activity.
We need sleep to maintain strong cognitive abilities, like speech, memory, and thinking. Its function is not only for the regeneration and repair of your body, but it has an extreme influence on your brain development. That is why improving your sleep quality is very important.
How much of sleep is needed?
The amount of sleep we need is dependent on age and our lifestyle, genetics has a significant influence on it, that’s why some people need 6 hours of sleep a day while others need 10. Some studies show that people that live longest are the people that sleep from 6,5 to 7,5hours a day.
The basic rule of thumb is that for every hour you are awake you need around half an hour of sleep. The need for the rest of course increases if you are stressed or have physically straining activities.
Lack of sleep or sleep quality causes exhaustion that affect the behavioral ability of the individual:
- Effects on cognitive ability: memory, concentration, speech,
- Higher stress hormones affect cell regeneration and contribute to a more rapid aging
- Longtime insomnia or lousy sleep quality has numerous consequences to your health: weakened immune system, high blood pressure, diabetes, overweight, and others.
11 Tips to improve your sleep quality:
- Start a habit that will fit your body, precise time of sleeping and being awake, so that each day it will be the same and your body gets used to a steady pace.
- Avoid nicotine and caffeine in the evening. If you are extra sensitive don’t drink and coffee, energy drinks, green/black tea, and others at least 8 hours before sleep.
- Avoid alcohol – Even though it feels like it calms you down, it prevents quality sleep.
- Eat just the right amount of food, don’t go to sleep hungry but don’t go to sleep extra full as well.
- Regular exercise and Stretching– If exercise makes you more alert and energetic – avoid sports activity in the evening.
- Sleep only at night. If you must sleep during the day limit it to max 30 minutes.
- The bedroom should be fresh, dark, quiet and most of all comfortable. Adjust your temperature and humidity to one that fits you. You can use extra equipment if need be (noise reduction earplugs, eye covers, and other)
- Buy a mattress and pillow that will suit you
- Start a sleeping routine – Things that remind your body its sleepy time. Example: a warm bath, reading a book, relaxing music, and others
- Don’t watch TV or stare at your computer screen before going to bed. It makes your eyes tired, and you risk a headache
- If the upper tips don’t help start with food nutrition and supplement.
- Calcium helps the brain to use amino acid tryptophan, that is needed to make sleeping hormone melatonin.
- Chronical insomnia is one of the main symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which relieves stress, calms and It helps forming neurotransmitters, serotonin, and melatonin. It helps with depression, anxiety, and irritability, and consequently enables you to sleep.
- Hop extract in food supplements acts as a mild, natural tranquilizer for anxiety, insomnia and alleviates tension.
- You can relieve milder forms of insomnia with aromatherapy.