When we wake up feeling rested and refreshed, we know to expect a productive and pleasant day. As we gaze into the mirror before washing our face, we may even notice those lines and bags look less pronounced than the night before. Sleep does make you better looking.
A good night's sleep usually means we slept for six to ten hours. The amount of REM sleep in those six to ten hours represents an essential key in determining the quality of our slumber.
During the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, our body repairs, and rejuvenates. The REM stage, as the name suggests, involves the eyelids fluttering. And, if we remember dreaming, we most likely achieved REM sleep. Spending 20% of our night in REM qualifies as a good night's sleep.
What Happens When We Don't Get Enough Sleep?
We all experience occasional insomnia, and a night here and there of fitful or inadequate sleep won't compromise our health. But, if you consistently come up short in the Zzzs column, you may possess a higher risk of severe or chronic health problems.
According to a Harvard Study, six specific issues may result from poor-quality or inadequate sleep:
- Weight gain due to a below-average of slow metabolism may occur due to lack of sleep.
- Insufficient sleep may contribute to everything from an irritated mood to a more serious problem with anxiety and depression.
- Memory loss, learning problems, and other cognitive conditions may worsen without sleep.
- Heart health depends on sufficient sleep. Those with heart problems and other related conditions, especially need their sleep.
- Poor or inadequate sleep wreaks havoc on the immune system, making us more susceptible to colds and the flu.
- Insufficient sleep slows reactions and causes safety concerns, especially when it comes to driving or operating machinery.
Common Causes of Inadequate Sleep
So, why do so many people have trouble sleeping? You would think our busy and stressful days would cause us to fall asleep almost immediately. However, stress and anxiety represent a significant cause of the nearly sleepless night. Other reasons also exist, which cause us to suffer sleep deprivation:
- The consumption of coffee or other caffeinated beverages late in the afternoon leads to affect your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night.
- A glass of wine might get you to sleep faster, but overindulging in alcohol — especially late at night — will also find you waking up during the night.
- Chronic pain represents a significant cause of sleep difficulties.
- Ailments such as fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders prevent the REM stage from happening. REM must occur for a decent night's sleep.
- An inadequate bedtime routine that includes viewing disturbing or violent television programs — or blue light at all — does not represent a good choice for a restful night.
The Problem with Sleeping Aids
The pharmaceutical industry recognizes an opportunity when they see it. Many Americans suffer from sleep disorders, and they make trips to the drug store or get prescriptions from their physicians with the hope of some restful slumber.
The prescribed medication may assist in helping you get to and stay to sleep, but it comes with adverse side-effects such as an increased risk of falls and cancer. Ambien also comes with numerous side effects such as addiction, sleep-walking, and amnesia. It also requires that you dedicate at least seven hours a night to sleep.
Over-the-counter sleep medications don't fare much better when it comes to avoiding side-effects. Sleeping pills meant for occasional use often become habit-forming. Medications labeled for other ailments such as pain and allergies often become part of a bedtime routine. These drugs come with adverse effects, such as the increase in liver damage and Alzheimer's.
Daytime and Nighttime Preparation for Excellent Sleep
To successfully address a problem with sleep, you need to access your lifestyle and practices throughout the day, not just right before bedtime. The tips and practices below will help set the stage for better rest throughout the night:
- Get up earlier to get your tasks done. If you get up to exercise, for instance, you might want to throw in a load of laundry at the same time. You will make up for the lost sleep in the morning by getting to bed earlier that night.
- Limit your caffeine and determine what time you need to stop drinking it. The limitation and caffeine curfew varies from person to person, but try limiting caffeine to 24 ounces throughout the day, and stop consuming it after two in the afternoon.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Make it a point not to drink at least two hours before bedtime.
- Get fresh air and exercise throughout the day. Sitting at a desk or watching television several hours a day, your body may not know it needs to sleep at night.
- Who doesn't love a great nap?! But, if you take your naps too late in the day or indulge for much more than an hour, you may find yourself struggling to fall asleep at night.
- Also, make sure you take medications and supplements at a time that won't interfere with sleeping.
Awareness of your practices during the day should help you get a decent night's sleep. But, developing a bedtime routine also plays an essential part in preparing for restful sleep. Think of your kids and their baths and bedtime stories. As adults, a structure at bedtime also helps.
Quick Tips for Better Sleep
Consider these suggestions, especially if you struggle to get sufficient sleep:
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine two hours before bed.
- Avoid watching violent or disturbing television.
- Read a book if possible. If you use an electronic reader, make sure you set it to the nighttime option.
- Opt for relaxing yoga or stretching exercises rather than aerobics or cardiovascular workouts.
- Take a warm bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil.
- Aromatherapy diffusers and linen sprays work great in the bedroom to help you relax. You may find scents such as lavender and jasmine, especially soothing.
We Can Help
Of course, another vital component of your sleep involves your mattress and bedding. At Nest Bedding, we know that when it comes to mattresses, one size does not fit all. We carry a line of several mattresses with superior construction. No matter what your comfort requirements, we carry the mattress to meet your needs.
The proper bedding also makes a world of difference when it comes to restful sleep. Our superior sheets sets come in organic cotton, Egyptian cotton, or eco-friendly bamboo. We also carry a line of comforters and pillow shams.
Adequate sleep represents an essential part of a healthy life. If you still experience difficulty sleeping after adjusting your routine, make sure to contact a doctor or healthcare specialist. For more information on achieving better sleep, contact us.