Tips and tricks for a better more restful nights sleep


Why Is Sleep Important?

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.

The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.

Healthy Brain Function and Emotional Well-Being

Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.

Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning math, how to play the piano, how to perfect your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.

Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.

Physical Health

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. For example, one study of teenagers showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up. Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity in other age groups as well.

Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.

Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.

Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a role in puberty and fertility.

Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.

Daytime Performance and Safety

Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. People who are sleep deficient are less productive at work and school. They take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.

After several nights of losing sleep—even a loss of just 1–2 hours per night—your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two.

Lack of sleep also may lead to microsleep. Microsleep refers to brief moments of sleep that occur when you’re normally awake.

You can’t control microsleep, and you might not be aware of it. For example, have you ever driven somewhere and then not remembered part of the trip? If so, you may have experienced microsleep.

Even if you’re not driving, microsleep can affect how you function. If you’re listening to a lecture, for example, you might miss some of the information or feel like you don’t understand the point. In reality, though, you may have slept through part of the lecture and not been aware of it.

Some people aren’t aware of the risks of sleep deficiency. In fact, they may not even realize that they’re sleep deficient. Even with limited or poor-quality sleep, they may still think that they can function well.

For example, drowsy drivers may feel capable of driving. Yet, studies show that sleep deficiency harms your driving ability as much as, or more than, being drunk. It’s estimated that driver sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents each year, resulting in about 1,500 deaths.

Drivers aren’t the only ones affected by sleep deficiency. It can affect people in all lines of work, including health care workers, pilots, students, lawyers, mechanics, and assembly line workers.

As a result, sleep deficiency is not only harmful on a personal level, but it also can cause large-scale damage. For example, sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to tragic accidents, such as nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships, and aviation accidents.

Article from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services


The No. 1 Way to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep? And I mean good — do you wake feeling-refreshed-and-fully-awake good? Or do you hit the snooze button and feel groggy from the moment you get up?

The latter used to be me. I would rarely get a full night’s rest. At usually 3 or 4 in the morning my mind would switch on like a light bulb. I would be wide awake and my mind would start wandering and thinking about work — my projects, my emails, the whole long list of things I had to do or just think about regarding work. It was my little analyst mind busy at work. It. Would. Not. Stop. No matter how hard I tried I could not get back to sleep.

Little did I know at the time that getting less than six hours a night, which was my norm, would eventually be the number one reason why I would end up collapsing one day. It was my final wake up call to do something about my exhaustion and sleep deprivation. I had more than enough on my plate at the time due to a crazy-busy career.

Studies suggest that less than six hours of sleep decreases brain function and our ability to learn.

Poor sleep can also result in obesity, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, low sex drive, anxiety and depression, impaired judgment and more. All pretty good reasons to want more of it.

The bottom line is getting good quality sleep and enough of it does the body good. As many of you already may know the goal is to get seven to nine hours each and every night. No skimping. For any athletes out there the amount of sleep you need may be even up to 10 hours or more.

The one thing that can help massively with little effort is something that Ellen Degeneres, Jerry Seinfeld and over 1,300 employees at BlackRock do. They all meditate. For some of you unfamiliar with this powerful technique it may seem too “out there” and the image that comes to mind is sitting in a cave all day chanting om. (For those of you practicing this by all means go for it if it works for you.)

Meditation takes on many, many forms. It can be deep breathing for a few minutes, singing or listening to soothing music. All in all it is a great tool to ease and calm the mind whatever form you choose to use. I can say personally that meditation was the most effective thing I did that finally got me a good night’s sleep. I did not know much about it but I was willing to try anything that did not involve medication. After getting and listening to my first meditation CD I went straight to sleep and slept like a baby for the first time in two years. I felt like a new person when I woke up. I no longer felt groggy and I could focus and concentrate better at work.

Once I started I did not want to stop. I actually ended up looking forward to doing it every single day. It became my daily practice. I would just sit back and listen and most importantly relax.

My advice is start somewhere. It can be deep breathing for a few minutes or a full-fledged hour or two of a specific meditation practice. It can involve trying to control your thoughts or just letting them come and go. Do what you like and what works for you, but remember to get the most out of meditation you must do it consistently every day. It does not matter so much what time you do it as long as you do it.

Taken from Huffington Post

One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

Why you should listen

Neuroscientist Jeff Iliff ‘s research follows two main paths. The first is the exploration of how the brain’s support cells, called glia, contribute to maintaining the proper environment for neuronal function and how their failure in conditions like vascular dementia, stroke, and traumatic brain injury leads to neurodegeneration. The second seeks to define the basic cellular mechanisms by which brain blood flow is coordinated up and down the vascular tree. Now an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, Jeff was a part of a University of Rochester Medical Center team that discovered a brain cleansing system, which they dubbed the “glymphatic system.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *