Sleep Smarter: How To Optimize Your Sleep Hygiene
We’ve all heard the proverb ‘Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’. It’s a catchy phrase, but it’s also rooted in fact – a healthy, consistent sleep routine can have an impact on nearly every facet of general health, wellness, and happiness. Our fast-paced lives have forced us to put sleep somewhere at the bottom of our priority lists, exacerbating conditions of stress, anxiety, and depression, not to mention the litany of physical conditions that can be worsened by improper sleep. Lack of sleep can contribute to lowered systematic efficiency and productivity and can certainly exacerbate a variety of health conditions and risks.
On average, adults need to get 7 to 8 hours of deep, restful sleep a day in order to be fresh, alert, and productive throughout the rest of the day. Beyond the mere duration of sleep, your sleep cadence and quality also plays a substantial role in how beneficial your sleeping habits are. In fact, a poor sleep routine can increase the risks of various illnesses and health issues. Getting sufficient, restful sleep, on the other hand, has both primary and secondary effects.
The ideal quantity of sleep varies by individuals, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC, proposes that grown adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. They also estimate that one out of three adults does not get enough sleep.
Lack of sleep not only causes physical health implications ranging from fatigue, to more serious issues like imbalances in blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, hormonal fluctuations, lowered immunity; but can also affect your mental health, by making you feel more stressed or experience significant mood discrepancies. Moreover, it also affects your ability to interpret information or make decisions, which in turn can lower productivity and increase the risk of errors and accidents. Poor sleeping habits can also have an effect on your looks. Prolonged lack of sleep can contribute to wrinkles, dark circles, and depletion of the body’s collagen reserves.
How Better Sleep Supports The Immune Reaction
Your immune system is what protects you from any and all things that can leave you feeling under the weather and buried under a heap of tissues. However, lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your body's first line of defense. By weakening the immune reaction, it can also increase the severity of symptoms and prolong the usual recovery times. Studies link adequate sleep to a healthy and effective immune system by allowing your body to recover and regenerate itself each night. A study tracked the trajectory of common cold following cold virus nasal drops that were given to a group of people over a period of 2 weeks. It concluded that people sleeping just under 7 hours were nearly three times as likely to experience a cold as people sleeping 8 hours or higher.
Deeper Sleep Can Help Improve Your Mood
Your brain processes thoughts while you sleep, a critical routine when it comes to storing memories (good and bad), learning skills (like new languages or a new dance move), and even developing habits and routines for your body (like waking up at a certain time with more energy for your morning run). Studies show that the brain sifts through negative thoughts and memories first and then moves onto the more pleasant ones. By cutting down on the duration of sleep, you are more likely to only process the negative thoughts, leading to a dampened mood when you wake up. By giving your brain enough time to process all the thoughts- both positive and negative, you are more likely to wake up on the right side of the bed. Beyond memory processing, you may experience more success in establishing routines, developing new skills, and your general ability to focus and process information if you’re regularly getting the right amount of sleep – allowing your brain to decompress and be thoroughly unstimulated for a portion of every day is absolutely critical.
Consistent Sleep Patterns Help Heart Health
A regular, consistent sleep cadence can even help support a healthy heart. A good sleep routine helps manage your blood pressure levels and helps them stay within the optimal ranges. Receiving sufficient rest every night enables the body to regulate itself by blood pressure. This can lower the likelihood of sleep-related conditions and improve overall cardiac health.
Sleep Aids the Body's Self-Repair Process
Sleep is a time to unwind, but it's also a time for the body to restore damages brought on by stress, and other environmental factors that can impact health. While you sleep, your cells generate more protein. Such protein molecules serve as the foundation for cells, helping them to make repairs within the body. Moreover, your body produces extra protein molecules when you sleep, which can help support optimal recovery.
Sleep Can Enhance Athletic Performance
Quality of sleep does not only enhance the function of the brain but can also improve your physical performance. After a good stretch of restful sleep, you are more likely to feel invigorated and in harmony with your physical body. According to a study, when a group of college basketball players slept for longer periods, their score accuracy, response time, and overall speed improved dramatically.
In another study, a poor sleep routine in elderly women has been linked to poor exercise execution as well as functional limits. Another research of around 2800 women indicated that poor sleep was linked to slower walking, less grip, and greater difficulties in performing independent tasks.
Sleep Supports Weight Loss
Sleep routine can be linked to appetite, obesity, and body mass index. Researchers discovered that individuals that sleep fewer hours per night are more likely to be overweight. Sleep deficiency has been believed to affect the body's hormonal balances that can affect your appetite. In particular, the levels of the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin have been shown to fluctuate more in people with poor sleep routines.
How to Improve Your Sleep Routine:
Quality and Quantity of Sleep
The first and foremost thing to do in order to improve your sleep routine is to ensure you are getting enough sleep. Adults need an average of 7 to 8 hours daily, while children need more. Make sure to take out the time in the day for sufficient sleep. If you feel that you have a lot of other things to do rather than sleep, remind yourself that a rested body and mind can be more productive than a fatigued one.
The quality of sleep is just as important as the quantity of it. Try to follow a fixed sleep schedule. Sleep at the same time every day so that over time your body can get used to the routine and adapt accordingly. Specifying a time slot for sleeping daily will also help ensure you are getting enough hours of sleep. Moreover, studies show that sleeping at night is far more beneficial than sleeping during the day. This is because our body produces melatonin in the darkness that helps our body feel refreshed and assists with bodily growth and development.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Get in the habit of preparing ahead before it is time for you to sleep. Practice at least one hour of downtime beforehand, where you disconnect from your devices or any demanding physical activities or things that require concentration or can prove to be stressful. Make your bedroom a place where your body and mind immediately feel at ease so that you can sleep peacefully. Moreover, push your mealtimes to at least 2 hours before your sleeping time. Another good practice is to avoid spending work hours, meal time, or leisure time in the bed or bedroom. Ideally, you’d condition your brain to associate the bed and bedroom with deep sleep, and little else. By bringing daytime activities to bed, your mind may struggle with “switching off” when it’s time to close your eyes.
Check for Underlying Health Conditions
If you believe you are sleeping enough but are still not feeling rested or refreshed, then it might be a good idea to check with a medical practitioner for any underlying health conditions that might be interfering with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Consider Supplements for Improved Sleep
Magnesium is one supplement that has emerged as an attractive and possible sleep aid. The mineral has both a wide range of impacts on the body and may affect sleep-promoting processes. Incorporating the prescribed dosage of magnesium is a natural way to improve your sleep. Magnesium, in addition to its many other health advantages, can help you fall asleep faster and deeper, allowing you to wake up feeling more refreshed, making them a popular choice among people looking to better manage their underlying sleep conditions. This seems to be due to the fact that magnesium has the ability to help the body to relax and quieten the mind before and during sleep. Bioschwartz Magnesium Bisglycinate is a form of magnesium supplement that can foster increased absorption of magnesium, as compared to other forms such as magnesium citrate.
Supplements with Melatonin may help uncomfortable symptoms of some sleep conditions or even help those who are suffering from jet lag or sleeplessness due to fear or anxiety due to some life-change such as surgery. BioSchwartz Nighttime Stress Relief with Melatonin helps get sleep cycles back on track so you can go to sleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up refreshed and alert.†