Sleep plays an integral role in health and wellness. It allows your body to repair itself and keeps your brain functioning optimally. Getting enough shut-eye can leave you feeling refreshed, alert, and contented; plus it may boost your immunity too!
The body’s sleep-wake cycle is guided by a 24-hour rhythm known as your circadian rhythm. This cycle is synched with light and darkness, impacting every cell and tissue within you.
People who don’t get enough sleep have an increased risk of health complications and may even succumb to them. Common reasons include heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Depressive feelings and poor decision-making skills can have detrimental effects in the workplace. Furthermore, anxiety has a detrimental effect on memory, causing you to forget important events.
Sleep is essential for health, but how much you need depends on a number of factors. The best way to determine how much shut-eye you require is by consulting with a medical professional.
Many factors can impact when you want to sleep and wake up, such as your schedule, what you eat, how active you are during the day and your environment. On average though, most people require seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night in order to feel their best.
Sleep deprivation can be a major issue for older adults. Those who don’t get the recommended amount of shut-eye each night are more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.
But getting enough sleep is especially critical for younger Americans, particularly Millennials and Gen Xers. Studies show that those who don’t get enough shut-eye are more likely to feel sluggish or lazy (48 percent of Millennials; 47 percent of Gen Xers), have trouble focusing on tasks (35 percent of Millennials; 30 percent of Gen Xers), are less motivated to fulfill their responsibilities, and are under greater stress.
Sleep is especially essential for older individuals who may be dealing with health problems or conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Studies have demonstrated that getting enough rest each night can improve mental clarity and alleviate symptoms related to these diseases such as memory loss, pain and fatigue.
Sleep is also necessary for maintaining a healthy weight, as getting enough shut-eye has been linked to better weight loss and maintenance.
One of the best ways to guarantee you get enough sleep is to set an alarm for bedtime and wakeup at the same time every day, even on weekends. Be consistent and follow a regular bedtime ritual such as taking a bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to music before going to sleep. This way, you can ensure consistent results each night.
You can improve your sleep quality by abstaining from caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bed. Furthermore, electronic screens should be avoided for some time prior to going to bed as these can disrupt your circadian rhythm.