Sleep is the most undervalued pillar of health. Being busy and not getting enough good night’s sleep is being romanticized these days. It’s so bad that criticism trickles in if you get enough. Several studies have shown that if you sleep well enough, it’s similar to eating healthy and being active. Sleep is vital to your well being.
We can’t discuss how to sleep well without knowing the side effects of not sleeping well.
What Happens When You Don’t Sleep Well and Why You Should Sleep Well?
- During deep sleep, the sewage system in your body kicks in and washes away toxic protein build-up in the brain called beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
- When you do not sleep well, it hinders your ability to form and consolidate memory, which increases the chances of forgetfulness. This explains the puzzle I tried solving some years back. Growing up, my sister and I would burn the midnight oil, reading and depriving ourselves of sleep. My younger brother had no problem going to bed and performed as well as both of us, who deprived ourselves of sleep. It was quite annoying, I must say. I believe he was able to retain memory better than us because he had a rested mind.
- If you sleep well, you receive the best form of blood pressure medication. A good night’s sleep regulates your cardiovascular system and blood pressure. It also decreases the chances of getting a stroke or heart attack.
- Inability to sleep well has a great impact on your immune system. Not having a good night’s sleep can cause a drastic reduction of anti-cancer fighting cells. This can increase the chances of getting breast, prostate, and bowel cancer.
- Not sleeping enough increases stress hormones that break down collagen and leads to premature aging. Shortchanging your body and brain of sleep is hurting you long-term. More than you may think, it’s more important to have a good night’s sleep.
9 Tips to Sleep Well and Sleep Enough
Here’s how you can get better sleep.
Avoid using tech close to your bedtime
This is because our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by light(daytime) and dark(night). We need darkness in the evening to trigger the release of a hormone called melatonin.
Melatonin helps regulate the healthy timing of our sleep. The light from the screen of our devices has been equated to the light you get during the daytime.
If you want a better chance to sleep well. You need to stay away from your device(computer screen or phone) an hour or more before going to bed and dim the lights in your room.
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Sleep in a cool environment
It is easier to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold than in a room too hot. That is why most times when the weather is cold, you prefer to snuggle in your bed rather than get out of it compared to when it’s hot.
Your body and brain drop their temperature by two to three degrees Fahrenheit for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you want to sleep well, keep your environment cool.
Work out more
Having five minutes’ worth of daily exercise can improve your chances of sleeping better. However, avoid having your exercise close to bedtime. Getting outside in the morning under natural light helps to improve your sleep-wake cycle.
Read also: Health benefits of taking periodic walks
Build a sleep schedule
Make sleep a priority. I know there are times you need to choose between your sleep and goals. There is nothing wrong with whatever choice you make, provided you’re aware of the impact of your decision. You can also go to bed at a certain time and wake up at a specific time. Just make sure you get up to seven to nine hours of sleep.
Learn to wind down
Have a wind-down routine. Disengage from any device and do something relaxing. These activities help you to declutter your mind and make you more likely to fall asleep.
Some of the relaxing activities you can do to get a good night’s rest are:
- Taking a shower
- Reading a book (hardcover of course not your ebook)
- Listen to calming music
- Keeping a Journal
Read also: Personal development books to relax and transform your mind
Avoid taking alcohol
Alcohol produces both stimulant and sedating effects on humans. Both effects can affect your sleep and hormones negatively. It is one of the causes of sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea. Alcohol alters the production of the melatonin hormone at night time. To ensure you have a quality good night’s sleep don’t go to bed tipsy or drunk. Take alcohol in moderation.
Monitor your caffeine
A dose of caffeine is a good ‘pick-me-up’. It is present in your coffee and even your Coca-Cola drink. Yes, your fizzy drink. It enhances focus and energy, which can prove useful during the day. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and can prevent your body from relaxing naturally at night if you take it in the afternoon or evening.
So stay away from coffee or any other caffeinated drink at least 6 hours before your bedtime. If you crave a cup of coffee in the afternoon or evening, choose decaffeinated coffee.
Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime
Imagine eating a huge meal before going to sleep. Your protruding belly, pregnant with food won’t let you. Even if you fall asleep, you might not have a restful sleep.
Joke aside, going to sleep immediately after eating prevents your body from going into a restive state. This is because it’s actively trying to digest the food you consumed, which can prevent you from having a restful sleep.
Avoid taking a long daytime nap
Taking a long daytime nap can disrupt your internal clock. It’ll make it hard for you to sleep well at night. This can negatively affect health and sleep quality.
Read also: Creating the best self-care routine to improve your lifestyle
Sleep is our strongest ally to improve our overall health. Sleep has proven to be where our brain does a lot of work. Not getting enough sleep can prove detrimental to your health, so try as much as possible to sleep well. If you suffer from any sleep disorder, endeavour to consult with your doctor.
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About the Author
Chidinma Nwosu is a freelance copywriter and content writer. She writes compelling articles about entrepreneurship, personal development, and lifestyle. She enjoys reading as much as writing. You can find her on Instagram and LinkedIn.
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