People who regularly achieve a good night of sleep tend to be more healthy. Good sleepers have more energy, a better mood, and far more focus on their tasks. If you’re lucky enough to sleep well most nights of the week, you may also be better able to manage your weight effectively, as well as your relationships. Physical health and mental health rely on good sleep. Yet poor health can lead to sleep loss and exhaustion.
Should you try to sleep more if you are unwell? There are, of course, many benefits of sleeping more. During sleep, the body regenerates and fights germs and infections. Unfortunately, too much sleep outside of your regular routine can leave you feeling groggy. You may even struggle to get back into a good, healthy sleep pattern. It’s important that you sleep well, but sleeping too much at the wrong times may actually set you back.
Should you rely on prescription medications to help you sleep? A healthy, natural sleep is not always achievable once you have taken some of these drugs. Sleep should rest the body and all of your muscles. Some sleeping drugs do this well. Sleep should also permit the brain to reach REM sleep. There are five different stages of sleep. Not all sleeping aids benefit this process. A natural sleep is best if you are able to achieve it.
Why do we need full cycles of sleep? We tend to sleep for about seven and a half hours a night. This is long enough for five cycles of sleep that last about ninety minutes each. Each cycle is different and will go through the five stages of sleep in different ways. Some stages allow for dreaming, while others allow for a deep level of physical relaxation. Healing, regeneration, mental filing, and even preparation for the coming day happen during sleep. Interruptions can lead to confusion, memory difficulties, and a lack of focus.
There are plenty of things that you can do to promote healthy sleep. A healthy lifestyle is the best way to ensure that you can fall asleep at night. Fresh air outdoors and exercise play a big part in preparing your body and mind for sleep. Avoid screens just before you want to go to sleep, as they emit blue light that confuses the brain chemistry into believing it is daylight. Avoid caffeine, too, if you struggle to settle at night. Finally, make sure that you have a good, consistent bedtime routine.
What can I do if I wake up at night? It’s a healthy part of the sleep cycle to wake up before the next one begins. We usually don’t notice or remember it, though. If you wake fully, it can be quite frustrating. Try not to let it bother you. Reset your sleep by performing the last two or three parts of your bedtime routine again. It doesn’t matter if you get out of bed for a glass of water first. If something woke you, consider making some changes to your room for tomorrow night. Earplugs to eliminate unwanted sounds and blackout curtains to remove excess light can be very helpful here.
Should I be this uncomfortable in bed? There is no need to be uncomfortable in bed. Physical ailments can lead to discomfort from time to time. Try not to rely on painkillers as some can alter your sleep cycle. Instead, invest in the best bed that you can buy. Mattresses for great sleep are available from many leading brands. Some are made from memory foam that is designed to hold your body in a supportive posture. This is particularly helpful for people with aches and pains or those nursing an injury.
Is a lack of sleep harmful to my health? Poor quality sleep, or skipping a whole night isn’t just harmful to your health, it’s dangerous. As soon as you start to drive your car, you’ll know you’re tired. Your focus isn’t sharp, and you’re making mistakes. This can become fatal, yet many of us admit to driving while tired. Your relationships can suffer because a lack of sleep makes us moody and irrational. Simple things that wouldn’t usually bother you can become hugely irritating for you. This can lead to some out-of-character behavior.
Beyond the mood swings, your metabolism could also be upset. You’ll feel more hungry and may need an extra meal to get you through the day. This can quickly and easily lead to weight gain if it happens regularly. Your digestive system won’t be as effective, either, so you may notice bloating and indigestion quite quickly. Injuries won’t heal if you don’t sleep and that cold will drag on and on. Good health really does rely on good quality sleep every night.
Why can’t I sleep? There are so many causes of sleep problems. Falling asleep is quite hard to do if you’re not used to doing it. This is why many parents of newborns struggle to help their little ones get enough sleep. It isn’t quite as natural and instinctive as you might think, and being overtired can exacerbate the problem. Preparation is very helpful here. Set up a healthy approach to sleep and a good bedtime routine. This will ensure that your body and mind are both prepared for falling asleep.
During daylight hours, get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Try to avoid stimulants like chocolate, sugar, and caffeine from about 4 PM. Alcohol can also make it tricky to stay asleep, so avoid this for now. At bedtime, switch off your electronic devices and avoid having any in your bedroom. Good sleep hygiene guides recommend using the bedroom only for sleep. Have a warm bath each night and stick to the same tasks in the same order. Once you’re in bed, use a low light lamp to read a chapter or two of your favorite book. If you find that you’re lying awake, simply try the routine again.
Stress is a big problem for many parts of your life, including sleep. Write down what worries you if your mind is spinning at bedtime. Use waking hours to address one thing on that list each day. Over time, your ability to fall asleep will become more natural and you’ll rest well all night long. Sweet dreams!
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