Unfortunately, we often overlook the importance of a regular, sound sleep, and its lack drastically reduces the quality of life. Even though you are constantly trying to fix your health and life, if you do not optimize your sleep, you are wasting your time.
Sleep is essential in order to detoxify the body and boost the function of the brain, improve alertness, and strengthen the immune system. According to experts, we should get from 7 to nine hours sleep every night.
However, if you are consistently getting less amount of sleep than this, you will start experiencing symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as:
Weak immune system
Feeling groggy or cranky
Troubles concentrating or completing tasks
Chronic sleep deprivation destroys the mind and body, leading to metabolic syndrome, a condition caused by chronic inflammation in the body, and it is the root cause of heart disease, weight gain, obesity, and insulin resistance leading to diabetes.
Hormonal imbalances due to a lack of sleep lead to anxiety and depression as well.
According to Stacy M. Peterson and Brooke L. Werneburg from Mayo Clinic:
“Sleeping less than seven hours a night is associated with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression, among other health risks. In addition, when you don’t get enough sleep, you may experience increased body aches and pains, reduced immune function and impaired performance at work. All of these problems can have a ripple effect on your daily habits.”
Yet, prescription sleeping pills offer only marginal benefits, and are actually futile, since they medicate the way to sleep.
Mayo Clinic writes about the adverse effects of these medications:
“Depending on the type, prescription sleeping pills may include side effects such as:
Dizziness or lightheadedness, which may lead to falls
Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea and nausea
Prolonged drowsiness, more so with drugs that help you stay asleep
Severe allergic reaction
Sleep-related behaviors, such as driving or eating when not fully awake
Daytime memory and performance problems”
“Though rare, people who use sleeping pills may even develop parasomnias. Parasomnias are defined as sleep disorders that include behaviors like sleep-walking, sleep-eating, sleep-sex, sleep-driving and other potentially dangerous sleep-related activities.”
Fortunately, there are effective and simple habits that can help you improve your sleeping routine, and the quality of sleep.
-Maintain a routine: Our bodies need a routine, so make sure you do not disturb it more than one night.
-Avoid electronic or other artificial light within 60-90 minutes of bedtime: The levels of melatonin need about 60-90 minutes to recover from being exposed to artificial light, so avoid using any electronic devices before bedtime.
-Calm the mind before bed: To quiet the mind before going to sleep, find a relaxing and soothing activity at night, like reading or meditation.
-Black out your bedroom: Melatonin, the sleep hormone, gets suppressed by the blue spectrum of light, and even the smallest amount of light disrupts sleep. Therefore, your bedroom should be completely dark to get a good quality sleep.
-Try magnesium supplements- This mineral helps the body to enter a relaxed state and get the needed rest during the night.
-Supplement with melatonin- The lack of melatonin compromises the immune system, so supplementing with it can help you easily fall asleep.
-Cool down your bedroom: To make your body comfortable and relaxed in order to easily fall asleep, lower the temperature in the bedroom in order to mimic the natural temperature shift during the night.