The Importance of Sleep
Sleep has a major important role in our body and brain, especially health. Because when we sleep, it helps repair and regenerate our brain cells as well as our blood vessels, resulting in a much healthier state. But why is sleep so important? Together with discovering its significance to us, we will also discover how to sleep soundly and wake well-rested.
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Reduced Risk for disease and healthy immune function
Sleeping is an immune response. It is caused by cytokines. Throughout the entire day the bacteria in your gut grow and grow, and at a certain point you become tired and fall asleep so macrophages and leukocytes can kill some bacteria and balance out the bacteria again for the new day. But, when you don’t sleep, your immune system begins to fail. The bad bacteria flourish, and you will see many symptoms such as fatigue, sickness, injury, etc. A healthy immune system means a good metabolism, healthy organs, and a body that will fight off disease.
Healthy Hormonal levels
Sleeping contributes to balancing prolactin, serotonin, dopamine, melatonin, leptin.
A balanced hormonal system is a balanced body with optimal functioning.
Fat loss and Muscle growth
Loss of sleep raises cortisol (excess stress=fat storage among other things), leptin inhibition (meaning carbohydrate craving and the inhibition of weight loss), mild insulin resistance, and reduced Thyroid stimulating hormone release (lowers metabolism).
That’s what losing sleep does, so when you get sufficient sleep, we get normal cortisol levels, leptin production, insulin sensitivity, and thyroid stimulating hormone release, which is a long way of saying Muscle Growth/Fat loss.
When your hormones are affected (out of whack), you tend to crave unhealthy foods. This then are you know leads to inactivity, mood problems, obesity, and lack of motivation to exercise. Among the effects of obesity on the body is sleep apnea.
Reduced Stress levels
Sleeping normalizes cortisol and insulin release during the day and night, allowing for steady moods and reduced risk for depression. It also balances out the dopamine-serotonin see-saw making you happy during the day.
A Functional Mind
The mind is powerful. If you lose sleep, you will have less energy the next day, with decreased focus. How do you expect to accomplish as much as the previous day? You can’t.
But if you sleep sufficiently, you can accomplish more and more every consecutive day. You can work towards your dreams and eventually accomplish them energetically, positively and effectively.
How do I improve my sleep quality?
The key to a night of restful sleep is to define a good routine before going to bed. To do so, we give you some useful tips to sleep well.
- Defining an approximate sleeping hour that we try to respect on a daily basis.
Avoid the screens before sleeping.
- Television, tablet, phone, game consoles and so on. Stay away from the screens at least an hour before bedtime. They excite the brain and disturb sleep.
- Have a sleep routine, it’s also having an evening routine. Eat at a fixed time, shower, put on pajamas. Getting ready to go to bed is sending the right message to your body.
- Prepare for the next day to decrease stress. Set your outfit out, your shoes, lunch, and anything you may need during the day to avoid being rushed and forgetting anything. It also quiets your mind by knowing you are already prepared when you wake up.
Keep a quiet room; it is essential to fall asleep serenely in a peaceful environment.
- To fall asleep quickly, you have send signals to your body to relax. Why not meditate a bit before going to bed? This makes for healthy sleep habits.
- Sleep away from the phone: it emits waves that disrupt sleep. Plus, it gives you the temptation to check your emails and what not. The blue light disturbs your circadian rhythm.
Have a bedtime routine; it’s also like having a wake-up routine.
- Getting up at regular hours and not too late can set a pace necessary to be tired at night and sleep.
- Getting up late shifts the body’s natural sleep rhythm. Thus preventing you from getting quality sleep.
- Going to bed late equals waking up late, making you hit that snooze button.
- Additionally, it causes more sleep problems by disrupting your normal bedtime routine.
- It is a vicious circle to avoid as it is difficult to resume normal circadian rhythms when one shifts. This also predisposes you to sleep disorders.
- Start setting your internal clock. Begin by setting the right amount of light and temperature. Be sure to turn down the heat. Make note of the low lighting to make your bedroom conducive to falling asleep.
- Avoid eating heavy meals in the evening.
How many hours of sleep is enough?
The ideal sleep time varies from one individual to another.
On the average, a grown human can sleep for about 6 to 8 hours.
Babies will require an average of 15 to 20 hours of sleep time, while a child will need about 10 to 12 hours. On the other hand, a teenager will typically require 9 to 10 hours of sleep time.
It is proven that reducing our sleep time by one hour for several nights results in fatigue and exhaustion. As a result, the length of sleep needed is that which allows you, to wake up rested and function to your prime during the day, remaining concentrated and without drowsiness.
It is therefore essential to know your body system well to find the ideal amount of sleep.
But how do you find out if you have enough sleep or not? A good test to know your pace is to ask yourself the following questions:
- In the morning, do I feel tired or in good shape?
- During the day, do I ever experience periods of drowsiness?
- Am I having trouble focusing my attention on something during the day?
- It goes without saying that if you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions, you need more sleep than at present. If, on the contrary, you answered “no,” your amount of sleep perfectly suits you.
How can sleep help you when you are sick?
To understand the above question, we need to explore what goes on during illness. During any trauma or infection, known generally as sickness, an inflammatory response is generated.
Now in case of sleep, the following advantages occur.
- The resting energy expenditure of the body during sleep is put at about 1400kcal on an avg in a waking sedentary person. This is equivalent to the energy spent on running the body; like the idling gas consumption of a car. This reduction is necessary for the inflammatory response to utilize energy. ATP is the same energy currency of the body. The more you save, the more you have.
During active and waking hours, a large part of the cardiac output goes to gut and muscles.
- Sleep has been found to have a profound effect on immune regulation, cell regeneration, and remodeling. Experimentally, rats deprived of sleep chronically showed a shorter life span. There are a lot of proposed molecular mechanisms, but the gist is that immune and healing processes are better especially if you get your REM sleep.
- Endogenous steroid activity (which acts as immunosuppressive) is reduced after proper sleep.
The effects of sleep deprivation
The effects vary depending on the individual. The 24 hours of deprivation manifests them.
A. Total deprivation of sleep
The duration of the controlled experiments varies from 1 to 11 days (264 h).
1. Mood disorders are the first to manifest itself.
We observe (1) increasing irritability, (2)a rapid alternation (a few minutes) of euphoria and depression; (3) Sometimes an indifference to the environment with the desire to stay alone.
2. Psychomotor instability.
The person cannot stand still. She feels the need to move, change position, position (standing, sitting). As a result, she has difficulty in focusing her attention.
3. Disturbances in the visual sphere
They are many and varied:
- burning sensation, tingling eyes. The observation shows conjunctival hyperemia (red eyes);
- The subject sees fog around the lights. Sometimes, diplopia. Reading is difficult;
- Change of shape of the objects. The subject has the impression that the floor ripples, lights flash, objects move quickly in the lateral field of vision;
- Hallucinations. They can occur from the 3rd day of deprivation. At first, the subject criticizes these hallucinations then he believes more and more. These hallucinations are peculiar: the subject sees threads, hair that he seeks to remove; he thinks he sees ants, worms on his skin (witnesses to dysesthesia).
The person perceives tingling of the extremities (hands, feet). At the level of the face, she has the impression of having a very tight hat. Tremulations of the eyelids and limbs are observable. The tests show an increase in sensitivity to pain.
5. Hearing disorders are very inconsistent.
The subject hears noises appearing far away (whistles, bells).
6. Disorganization of thought.
It characterizes disorders by:
- A slowing down of the ideation resulting in slow and low speech. Individuals take long to answer questions asked as if the reflection period was increased;
- Difficulties in finding the correct word. The sentences remain unfinished. The subject has problems in keeping logical reasoning. He loses the logical thread of discourse;
- increased suggestibility;
- Omissions from recent events: there is a hundred anterograde amnesia. People who are deprived of sleep find it difficult to project themselves into the future (amnesia of the future). This is all the more noticeable as these people have important responsibilities. They are primarily concerned with the daily routine;
- Temporal-spatial confusion and disorientation after 5 to 6 days of deprivation.
7. Vegetative syndrome (fickle).
It is possible to observe moderate tachycardia and hyperthermia (38 ° -38 ° 5). Besides, the increase in the feeling of hunger causes hyperphagia. Headaches, gastralgia, an increase in libido can be observed.
8. Temporal perception is modified.
Sometimes the subject believes that time passes quickly, sometimes he thinks it is slowed down. The tapping test objectifies this fact. The subject is asked to beat the second; it taps faster or slower than real time.
B. Partial deprivation
The same methods as total deprivation carries out Partial deprivation too but it limits to 2, 3 or 5 hours each day. Changes in work rhythms can lead to sleep deprivation. The same disorders are observed, but their appearance is more progressive and can spread over several weeks.
What do you think? Are you sleeping soundly and waking up rested?