What is sleep? That’s the question many Americans can easily answer but never practice the recommendations. The world as we know it now has a lot of ups and downs that require every second of our time. Most of the times most Americans and the worlds’ population never rests enough.
As recommended an adult should get a minimum 6 to 8 hours of sleep per day. However, in the fast paced world most people do with less than half of that. We do multiple jobs to make ends meet and at the end of the day getting enough time to rest and stay with the family becomes a challenge.
Sleep is always interrupted with the stresses of life. Insomnia is a major condition these days as compared to the past because of these stresses coupled with snoring in partners or sleep apnea. Why do we think when we are supposed to be sleeping? Why can’t we leave tomorrow’s activities to tomorrow? Why do we stress ourselves in thinks we have no control of? Why can’t we use our beds for the purposes they were bought for, sleeping and having sex?
In order to sleep well, physicians recommend several things including ensuring that the room is fresh, making sure the pillow and mattress are dust mite free, reducing stimulants and alcohol intake and minimizing the use of blue light emitting devices like phones, television sets, computers, video games and tablets.
What is sleep?
In what is sleep definition, sleep is the state of relative muscles relaxation eyes closed and inactive nervous system occurring mostly at night almost suspending consciousness. That time the body gets to rejuvenate and repair the damaged cells in addition to ensuring better physical and mental health. The brain is active during sleep.
Neurotransmitters control the state of being awake or asleep in our bodies. The nerve chemical messengers act on several nerve cells and neurons to regulate sleep. The different neurons act differently to ensure that you sleep when you need to by switching off serotonin and norepinephrine. Adenosine which causes drowsiness increases in the blood while awake and is broken down during sleep.
Several activities and lifestyles also affect the sleeping patterns. When these lifestyles are changed insomnia becomes a thing of the past. In addition several supplements like Lunar sleep aid and essential oils.
Stages of sleep
We have 5 stages of sleep: Stage 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Mostly people progress from stage 1 to REM sleep. As we sleep most of the time is spent in stage 2 sleep which takes 50% of the sleeping time. This is followed by REM sleep which takes about 20% of the sleeping time. The other stages share the remaining 30% of the sleeping time. However, in infants 50% of their sleeping time is spent on REM sleep.
Stage one typifies a light sleep where one can be awakened very easily. In this stage one frequently slips in and out of sleep. This stage is characterized by slow eye movement and reduced muscle activity. If you wake up during stage one sleep, you will recall fragmented images. This period most people also experience hypnic jerks (hypnic myoclania) which are muscle contraction most at times followed by the feeling of starting to fall. PLMS sleep disorder is a disorder where this stage is elongated.
In stage two there is no eye movement but there is very slow brain waves. The brain waves can be measure by polysomnography by the use of electrodes to deduce the level of sleep. In this stage however, an individual experiences sleep spindles which are occasional increase in rapid waves.
Stage 3 and 4 are characterized by when the brain starts producing delta waves which are very slow brain waves scattered among smaller faster waves. In stage 4 however, the brain only produces delta waves mostly. There is no eye movement or muscle movement in the two stages and therefore the two stages are mostly referred to as deep sleep. In the deep sleep it is harder to wake up the individual and if it is done the person wakes up feeling groggy and disoriented. These two stages are where bedwetting, night terrors and sleep walking occurs in children and some few adults.
REM sleep is characterized by rapid, irregular and shallow breathing in addition to movement of the eyes frequently in different directions. Mostly the limb muscles can’t move, the blood pressure and heart rate increases and penile erection occurs in most males. In this stage people mostly dream a lot and thus when woken up most people will give tales that are mostly not logical.
Therefore, to experience a night of relaxation a person should get these stages cycles with more time spent in deep sleep and REM sleep. In this regard we need to explore why we should endeavor for a good night sleep. This way we experience the benefits listed below of a restful good night sleep.
REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD SEEK GOOD SLEEP EVERY NIGHT
In one of my previous articles, we explored the reasons why insomnia is bad for you. The reasons for sleeping well far outweigh the benefits of getting a few more hours of being awake. To get the recommended 6 to 8 hours of sleep is beneficial in a number of ways including:
Sleeping well ensures better performance at work and school
Good night sleep every day is one of the best ways to get a good performance. Sleeping well ensures that the brain, body and spirit are rested. A rested brain provides more concentration and grasping easily of tasks. A rested body which is healed makes one more active and thus improving performance. The two also when rested ensures that the individual is less sleepy. A good night sleep helps one to feel less groggy as they wake up. This makes it easy for one to go to work more rejuvenated to perform the daily chores.
Sleeping well makes one sharper in school. I have proved this point where I performed well in college in exams when I slept well the previous night. There was one stressing unit (course) in second year of my study, thinking of it always gave me insomnia. I read so much and slept for just 4 hours because of the stress. This unit is the one that makes my transcript look bad. I performed dismally. When one is sleep deprived or is frequently sleepless, the mind suffers a reduction of cognitive ability.
When a mind has enough rest, it balances the several chemicals that enable performance. It rejuvenates and heals the neurons ensuring the electrical impulses are passed on smoothly. As a result the brain is well prepared for the next day’s activities.
Sleeping well also helps you to make better decisions. This is aided by two chemicals serotonin and adrenalin. With good night sleep serotonin increases and adrenaline production decreases. Adrenaline is needed in the body to enable survival if one can’t sleep. Too much adrenaline in the body makes an individual to make rash decisions because it is produced in the body in time of danger. Adrenaline informs the individual to run, hide or fight. Serotonin on the other hand ensures the individual does measured decisions. This thus helps one to remain calm when making decisions.
This therefore points out that a good night sleep enables performance at school or at work. If one is having challenges at either school or work one of the best way to resolve them is to get a good night sleep successively.
Good night sleep reduces accidents while driving or at work.
Accidents at work or while driving or carrying out major daily chores are majorly attributed to lack of a good night sleep. The accidents may also be caused driving while drunk or use of mobile phones while driving. Fatigue and being drowsy associated with sleep deprivation is a major cause of slow thinking. Brain reaction time and thus judgement is affected adversely by lack of sleep.
I remember driving one day across several states, this meant driving day and night. In those moments I found myself especially at night suffering from double vision and micro sleep, and thus moving across the different lanes. Even loud music and taking energy drinks could not help. This is what happens when one drives while sleepy. Driving for a few seconds while asleep which is called micro sleep can result in major accidents especially if one is driving at a high speed.
People who work at industries with motors and rotors should ensure that they get a good night sleep daily. These machines only take a split second of inattention can be so devastating. Therefore, a good night sleep is important for individuals to perform well at work and also to minimize accidents.
A good night sleep improves the sex life and makes it more enjoyable
When a person frequently experiences episodes of no sleep, the sex drive reduces markedly. Lack of sleep has been associated with lower libido and lack of interest in sex.
Insomnia and sleep apnea reduce sexual drive in men because production of testosterone is reduced. Also most at time after a rejuvenated sleep most men get a penile erection which does not happen if one does not go through the several stages of sleep. Therefore, people with chronic insomnia commonly suffer from erectile dysfunction.
In women estrogen regulates sex drive. If one has a good night sleep, the body is rejuvenated. When the body is rejuvenated, it is able to secrete the hormone. If estrogen is produced in the right quantities women sex drive is increased. Several periods of insomnia or sleep apnea are associated with reduced sex drive in women due to reduced production and regulation of estrogen.
A good night sleep also rejuvenates other body parts like muscles and the brain hence enhancing performance during sex. The body is also fresher and chemically balanced for a good sex.
Consistent good sleep helps to lose weight
Sleeping, according to most people, is a time where nothing happens that can reduce weight. That cannot be further from the truth. Sleeping helps to reduce weight in several ways. Insomnia markedly increases the chance of being overweight. Insomnia in most cases increases the urge to eat more especially at night. This increased appetite is the main cause of increase in weight. Appetite regulating peptides leptin and ghrelin are affected by frequent moments of no sleep. When one gets a good night sleep, the production of the two peptides is reduced thus reducing yearn for carbohydrates and fats due to hunger. Sleep also generally makes sure the body maintains high metabolism. High metabolism helps reduce weight through a higher utilization of energy consumed.
In most cases increase in weight also leads to snoring and sleep apnea. These conditions are easily managed by using PureSleep mouthpiece and other anti-snoring devices. This device ensures a good night sleep for you and your partner thus helping in reducing weight.
Having a good night sleep keeps you healthy
Looking for an easy way to keep the doctor away? Look no further than this. A good night sleep more often than not helps to keep you healthy. A good night sleep helps to keep stress, depression, chronic fatigue and brain disorders away. Insomnia in over 90 percent of the time is accompanied by another disease especially if the insomnia is chronic. Chronic insomnia is also associated with hallucinations.
Getting enough sleep most of the nights helps prevent the diseases of most of the body systems. The diseases of central nervous system, cardiovascular system, immune system, endocrine system, digestive system and respiratory systems are significantly reduced by regular good sleep. The common diseases experienced here include diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, balding, chronic inflammation of the gut and many others.
Diabetes one of the most common non-communicable diseases caused by either inherited genes or environmental factors. Enough sleep with other recommended prevention methods like diet and exercise prevents the occurrence or also helps manage diabetes. This helps in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Sleep helps to regulate the production and action of hormones including insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the sugar levels in the blood, if its production and/ or action is affected it leads to diabetes. When one sleeps well, all the glands function well including the pancreas which produces insulin.
Diseases of these systems are mostly chronic and expensive to treat. These sleep disorders related diseases affect the workings of the body reducing the quality of life and sometimes have poor prognosis including death. In reducing these diseases easily by sleeping one gets the chance to save a lot of money in hospital bills and worries associated with the same.
Sleeping well increases the levels of happiness
In the current world most people are looking for self-esteem and self-actualization instead of fighting for basic physiological needs. One of the factors captured in the two levels is happiness. This is per the theory of self-actualization by Maslow. Happiness is however elusive these days due to the pressures and stresses of work and the world. The rat race affects most of our happiness after finding out that the work we put so much efforts in do not satisfy all our needs and we end up working even more. This means that we spend a very little time sleeping and also suffer from lack of sleep when we go to bed.
However, a good night sleep boosts happiness and improves the moods. Reasons why a good night sleep increases happiness are because we get to dream, we get to rest and wake up rejuvenated, our bodies are healed from minor tears and aches, and for a few hours we forget our frustrations. Sleeping well also helps our body systems to regulate themselves and reduce diseases. A disease free body is the cause of happiness to most individuals and their families.
A good night sleep helps cure headaches
Ever wondered why some headaches do not go off even with the remedies prescribed normally. These mostly prescribed remedies for headaches include taking lots of water and fluids, taking caffeinated drinks and use of pain killers. This might be because of lack of sleep or insomnia. Periods of no sleep mostly increase incidences of headaches too.
Lack of sleep affects the eyes and brain in addition to blood flow leading to headaches. Most at times when we have a headache the solution is a good sleep. Sleeping for at least 6 to 8 hours ensures that the body is rejuvenated leading to healing and prevention of headaches. This rejuvenation helps to balance the body chemicals thus healing the different kinds of headaches. The common types of headaches that can be healed by good sleep include primary headaches like migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches and many other secondary headaches.
Tension and migraines are well managed by a good night sleep. This is also very effective if one does not have sleep apnea.
A good night sleep gives you a nice younger skin
Most people especially women are so worried about their skin ageing. This is because most women want to remain sweet 16’s for the rest of their lives. In the current day and age, even men have caught up with the norm, they also want to seem younger. The skin enhances the aesthetic beauty in addition to being first point of human immunity and excretion.
This can be achieved by consistently ensuring that you don’t have period of no sleep. A good night sleep on a regular basis prevents the occurrence of sallow skin and periorbital puffiness on a short term basis and collagen breakdown when one has chronic insomnia. Collagen breakdown is caused by increase in cortisol production when one has consistent lack of sleep. Collagen is the body protein that maintains skin radiance, smoothness and suppleness.
Also lack of sleep is associated with decreased production of growth hormone. The hormone is important in skin thickening in old people. It also ensures growth in the young children. Therefore, sleep is important in most facets of our lives including the skin.
Sleeping well ensures one can become masculine more easily
It is one of the most fascinating facts about a good night sleep. The fact is when one consistently gets good sleep they can easily improve the muscle strength and size. While asleep the body repairs the muscles and other tissues. This means that if we exercise and rest well the body is able to repair any torn muscles thus gives you the chance to exercise the following day.
After most exercise sessions, the muscles have a soreness due to accumulation of lactic acid and pain due to microscopic tears that happen within the muscles. A good night sleep helps to reduce the lactic acid accumulated during the day and also helps to repair the microscopic tears.
Without getting enough sleep, the body does not reduce the soreness associated with exercises. This is because for the repair to happen enough sleep is required. If one does not sleep well, no matter the exercise, building the muscles becomes a very hard task. Also if one does not get a good night sleep, exercising the following day also becomes harder.
Sleeping well every day enables one to overcome stress
In times of stress, once you get a good night sleep, most at times we feel relieved. The brain is always repaired and chemicals including hormones are well controlled during a good night sleep. Anxiety is one of the major causes of insomnia and insomnia is one of the major causes of anxiety.
A regular good night sleep enables one to heal the brain and prevent permanent damage. Too much stress or anxiety associated with sleep disorders can cause depression. Good sleep also helps one to make the right decisions at all time. This is a major reliever of stress in knowing that your decisions which will be pivotal in your life are right.
In addition to the 10 major reasons sleeping well at night gives the following benefits:
Sleeping well consistently reduces the risk of substance abuse.
Lack of sleep alters the circadian rhythm and also makes the body to seek more sources of pleasure. Drugs and alcohol most at times offer the pleasure. Therefore a good night sleep helps one to feel more fulfilled and thus does not need the drugs for this.
Sleeping consistently well also boosts the immune system.
The endocrine and immune systems are adversely affected by lack of sleep. Frequent moments of no sleep increases the susceptibility to infections including flu and common colds. It is very common for one to have a running nose when he does not get a good night sleep.
In most sleep disorders solutions are available in lifestyle changes and also some quick fixes. These sleep disorders include snoring, sleep apnea, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and others. Before resulting to sleep apnea/ snoring solutions like maxillary advancement surgery, recovery must be considered. Also snoring definitions enables one to choose an easy and effective method for the disorder.