The Five Things You Need To Know About Sleep

Sleep is a natural way to help your body and your mind feel better. Getting the right amount of sleep improves your mood, focus and level of energy. Without enough sleep, you won’t function as well. Your concentration will drop and your bodily functions, such as immune response, digestion and cell repair can be affected by inadequate sleep. Most people don’t think too much about sleep, but it’s clear when they don’t get enough. There’s much more to sleep than finding the right mattress, getting soft sheets and counting sheep after you get into bed. Keep reading to learn more about how sleep works and why it’s important.

  1. Insomnia Leads to Weight Gain and Loss Of Bone Mass

If you have insomnia or don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours of nightly sleep for adults, your metabolism will drop. A slower metabolism leads to weight gain. Weight gain happens over time, at the rate of a couple of pounds per year, even if you keep exercising and don’t overeat. 

A lack of sleep also causes more cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates. A recent published study demonstrated that insufficient sleep may cause osteoporosis. This is a condition that results in thinning and weakening of your bones. When you don’t rest enough, you get less oxygen and experience more inflammation. Lack of sleep may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, anxiety, depression and other chronic conditions.

  1. How Much Sleep You Need

A lot of people want to know how much sleep they really need to get every night. The general medical guidelines are eight hours of sleep for adults. However, it depends somewhat on each individual. Some people do well with seven hours of sleep, and others need nine. Sleep requirements vary with age, health status, medications, and a few other factors. 

In general, all adults need a minimum of six hours of sleep each night. It’s best to have at least five of those hours without interruption. No adult should need more than 11 hours of sleep. If you do, you may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. Too much sleep can make you as groggy as not getting enough sleep.

  1. More Exercise Leads to Better Sleep

Exercising every day helps regulate your sleep pattern. When you exercise, you get more sleep and more uninterrupted sleep. Just 15 minutes per day of moderate to intense exercise burns calories, builds muscle and promotes good sleep at night. 

Aim for a 20-minute walk each morning. It increases your daytime body temperature. As night comes, your temperature will drop, which signals to your brain that it’s time to wind down and fall asleep. Do this every day, and you’ll notice a big change in a few weeks. You could also do some yoga stretches or meditation about one hour before bed. These relaxing movements calm you and help you sleep more deeply.

  1. Short Naps Are Good for You

Cat naps have that name because cats fall asleep quickly for short bursts of time. During these naps, they’re attuned to noises in their environment that are suggestive of nearby prey or predators.

 Humans can also take cat naps. This is a nap that lasts for 20 minutes or less. It can help you restore calm and relax if you’re experiencing stress. You might be able to fit one in during your lunch break. Avoid taking a nap that is more than 30 minutes in duration as you could wake up feeling groggier than you did before you rested. Long naps also interfere with nighttime sleep.

  1. Look For Signs Of A Sleep Disorder

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. It involves difficulty with falling asleep and difficulty with staying asleep. This chronic condition lasts for at least two weeks, and some people suffer from it for years. 

When you have insomnia, your symptoms are much more than morning grogginess. Your short-term memory is impacted, so you’ll feel more forgetful. You may experience headaches. Your reaction time will drop, as will your level of concentration or focus. Insomnia increases your risk of being in a workplace or auto accident. People with chronic sleep deprivation are more likely to develop serious mental health effects, including anxiety and depression. It’s also important to note that anxiety and depression are known causes of insomnia.

There’s more to sleep than what a lot of people recognize. Good sleep hygiene practices and setting a daily sleep schedule will help. If you’re still having trouble getting enough sleep, don’t hesitate to reach out to your general practitioner or primary care doctor. Many health conditions and medications interfere with sleep. If you’re up late worrying, consider making an appointment with a counselor or therapist. They can help you with healthy coping mechanisms to help you sleep better.

                                                    

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