Sleep is one of the most important aspects of your health. It’s an imperative part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and one that many people let fall by the wayside. Proper rest can improve your physical health, mental health, the risk of disease, and a number of other aspects of your life.
But how many people actually get the amount of sleep they require?
The Effects Of Poor Sleep
Studies have shown that humans can’t adapt to getting less sleep. Even if it seems like you’re adjusting, your body isn’t. Your judgment, reaction times and other functions will continue to be impaired.
The majority of adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. Many people frequently miss that mark, however. Chronic sleep debt can raise the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
There are a large number of side effects associated with poor rest, including:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increase in appetite
- Easily stressed or irritated
- Increase in forgetfulness
- Increase in depression
- Decrease in sex drive
That is a major impact on your physical health, mental health, and day-to-day life! So how can we keep these negative effects at bay? Well, first you have to understand how sleep works.
- Stage 1 – This is where you’re sleeping the lightest. You may drift in and out of sleep, and you’re awakened easily. Your muscle activity slows down, and you may experience a jolt or falling sensation if your muscles suddenly contract.
- Stage 2 – In this stage brain waves mostly slow down, though there are still occasional moments of rapid waves. Your heart rate slows down, your body temperature starts to drop, and you transition into deep sleep.
- Stage 3 – This is where deep sleep occurs. It’s also where sleeptalking and sleepwalking occurs. In this stage, your brain experiences Delta waves, which are very slow brain waves. These mix with spurts of short, fast waves. This is also when your body begins to restore itself. It will rebuild muscle, repair tissue, and build energy.
- Stage 4 – This stage is similar to stage 3. The short and fast waves mostly stop, and you experience Delta waves almost exclusively.
- REM – This acronym means Rapid Eye Movement. During this stage, your brain waves are similar to those you have when you’re awake. Your muscles become temporarily paralyzed in this stage. It’s also when most dreaming occurs.
This term refers to the amount of sleep that a person loses over time. There are mixed thoughts, however, on whether sleep debt can be repaid or not. This study shows that while trying to catch up on your debt can help in some ways, it’s not an ideal solution. It can help daytime exhaustion and inflammation, but it doesn’t help regain attention levels or lower stress.
The only permanent solution is to develop a bedtime routine, making sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Understanding how sleep works is an important part of making sure you’re getting the rest your body needs. In our next blog, we will show you how to develop a bedtime routine that helps maximize your rest.
For part 2 in this series, click here.