Our health depends on various factors, and one of the most important is quality rest. By getting enough sleep, we can prevent our body from sleep deprivation which could lead to disease influence.
A person who lives in a big city and having an active lifestyle should have at least 8 hours of sleep. Irregular sleep can cause depression and apathy, performance decrement, and memory impairment. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of developing heart disease and cancer, and negatively affects our immune system.
Effects of sleep deprivation on your body
We spend one-third of the day sleeping and sometimes complain that it is such a waste of time. Active people devote little time to rest and sleep, thereby subjecting the body to serious stress. Regular sleep is so necessary that it cannot even be compared with eating because you can live longer without food than without proper rest. This is a kind of protection against fatigue, at a certain time a signal comes in, and we go to “recharge”.
Scientists are still investigating the structure of human sleep, and the purpose of this need is not fully defined. A person’s sleep can have a different duration, but its main goal is the stabilized work of all biological processes in the body.
The BBC Television Program Trust Me I’m a Doctor has done an experiment with the Oxford University. They equipped participants with sleep tracking devices to track sleep quality. The first three nights they had to sleep eight hours. For the next three nights, they were only allowed to sleep for four hours. Every day, the participants answered a series of questions to reveal their psychological state and mood changes.
What are the results of the experiment? Sarah Reeve, a doctoral student at Oxford University, who ran the experiment, was surprised at how quickly participants’ moods were changing. She said, the level of anxiety, melancholy, and stress drastically increased. There were also signs of psychosis and an increase in distrust towards other people.
Considering that these changes were only seen after three nights of lack of sleep, those are impressive results.
Three out of four participants in the experiment admitted that they did not like their state after four hours of sleep, but one participant – Josh – stated that lack of sleep did not affect him in general. He did not notice any severe changes in his mood. But, the tests that Josh passed suggest otherwise. His positive attitude changed dramatically after two nights of lack of sleep, and negative emotions began to prevail.
The results of this small experiment coincide with data from a larger study at the Oxford University on how lack of sleep affects students’ mental health.
More than 3,700 British students who complained of sleep problems took part in the study. The study participants were divided into two groups. The first group received six sessions of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) to help them improve their sleep quality. Another group received standard guidelines for sleep disturbance.
Ten weeks later, students who took cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) reported improved sleep, decreased levels of depression and anxiety, and decreased frequency of psychosis and hallucinations. After four hours of sleep, the participants in the experiment markedly increased the level of anxiety, melancholy, and stress.
Results showed that sleep deprivation triggers obsessive negative thoughts that can lead to mental disorders. This study demonstrates that insomnia is not always a consequence of mental disorders, but it can trigger mental problems.
What does a person need sleep for?
Sleep helps the body to recover – in particular, it balances the number of nerve cells, reorganizes the work of neurons, and improves long-term memory. All this works normally only if the person sleeps at least seven hours a day. If not, it starts to cause a serious impact on your body.
Besides, few of us are able to sleep for seven hours or more. As a result, our body gets very tired, does not have time to rest and the consequences are manifested. In particular, work productivity drops dramatically. Those people who do not get enough sleep become less able to concentrate and begin to misjudge the course of various events. This can lead to problems with acquaintances or at work.
As an assignment writer, I notice how lack of sleep negatively influences my work performance. It starts to take more time to concentrate and write texts, and afterward, I spend more time re-checking my work to avoid mistakes. Instead of spending extra-hours on quality sleep, I spend them on making sure I have done my job well.
Yet, understanding the importance of sleep is good, but what to do if you have problems with falling asleep? Millions of adults will suffer from insomnia at some point in their lives. Not being able to sleep is not just annoying, it can take a significant toll on our mental health. If you are having trouble sleeping, you need to investigate ways to help you sleep better. Keep reading for some great tips that can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
Things you can do to help you sleep better
As a matter of first importance, you need to build up a nighttime ritual before sleep. For instance, at the same time every evening, turn off the TV and just unwind, read or meditate for about half of an hour. Clear your mind of the burdens of the day and tell yourself that you will not consider them again until tomorrow when you are very much refreshed. Don’t hesitate to enjoy a glass of milk during this time. Milk has been proven to help in sleep.
Then, in order to fall asleep, you must make your bedroom as cozy as possible. Keep the temperature below 75 degrees by using an air conditioner or fans. Do not use the bedroom for anything other than sleeping. It’s vital that you don’t have any bright lights shining into your room. You can have a soft nightlight in your room if you don’t like complete darkness. A dark bedroom can send out signals to your brain that it is time to sleep.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine for at least four to six hours before bedtime. They are stimulants for the central nervous system, and they can keep you awake. It’s also essential not to eat a heavy meal or drink a lot of liquid before going to bed. This can make you feel uneasy or cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the toilet.
Get some earbuds to wear at night if there is a lot of outside noise keeping you awake. Soft music or white noise may help some people to fall asleep easier. Discover what fits better for you and implement it every night.
Do some relaxation exercises if you are still having difficulty relaxing after you’ve gone to sleep. Take a few deep breaths when closing your eyes. You breathe in through your nose and then exhale through your mouth. Begin by concentrating on your feet and mentally commanding them to relax. Climb up to your entire body, visualizing each part and mentally commanding the muscles to loosen. This relaxation technique is effective for inducing sleep.
So there you have it: some excellent suggestions for improving your sleep. Alcohol and sleeping pills should be avoided at all costs. These can become addictive and lead to rebound effects. A comfortable, cool, dark sleeping environment is the best way to get better sleep. Learn to unwind and get a good night’s sleep.