Want to Sleep Better? Check this out
There’s nothing fun about going in for an 8-9 hour day after a restless night’s sleep. So what can you do to improve sleep quality and sleep better? Check out Dr. Schreiber’s reasons why you aren’t sleeping and how you can sleep better starting tonight!
Simple keys to sleep better
The exact mechanism of how sleep rejuvenates the mind and body is still unknown; however, we do know that sleep is needed for proper function. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 40 percent of American adults get six hours or less per night, and the 2014 Sleep in America Poll revealed that 58 percent of teens average seven hours of sleep or less per night.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that lack of sleep is a public health epidemic, stating that insufficient sleep has been linked to a decline in health.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, most Americans are sleep deprived.
What people do not know is how important sleeping habits are on your health.
Really Lack of Sleep Causes That?
When you are sleep-deprived, your body cannot work efficiently. If this continues over time, your body begins to slow down, setting the stage for a myriad of chronic diseases. If you do not allow the brain to rest, recharge, and form new connections, the body will begin to break down.
Excessive yawning and sluggishness are the first signs. If sleep is further deprived, concentration and learning are affected. Short and long-term memory impairment is next, followed by emotional outbursts, such as temperedness and mood swings.
If this continues, severe sleep deprivation will result in hallucinations, impulsive behavior, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts.
When sleep-deprived, your body attempts to catch up by getting microsleep. This is where the mind and body are resting, but you are unaware that it is happening. This is very concerning especially driving and operating heavy machinery.
Many studies have shown the link between sleep deprivation and an increased risk of getting into an accident.
During sleep, your immune system’s health builds up its defense by creating new immune cells. When sleep-deprived, the immune system does not have a chance to build up its forces against potential pathogens. This will cause you to get sick easier and for infections to lasts for a longer period of time. In addition, if you already have certain chronic diseases, they can be worsened by sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation will cause you to gain weight. Due to the weight gain, you are also at greater risk for diabetes and heart disease. With that comes high blood pressure.
If you already have it, lack of sleep can make it worse.
How Much Sleep is Enough?
The amount of sleep varies from person to person, but the average person needs seven to nine hours of sleep to function properly. There are those that can function with as little as six or those that need around ten. It is just not about the amount of sleep, but the quality of sleep.
Uninterrupted, restful sleep is the key to feeling well and living healthy. The National Sleep Foundation recently released guidelines regarding age and the amount of sleep. Here are the recommendations:
|Newborns (0-3) months
|Infants (4-11 months)
|Toddlers (1-2 years)
|Preschoolers (3-5 years)
|School-age children (6-13)
|Teenagers (14-17 years)
|Young adults (18-25 years)
|Adults (26-64 years)
|Seniors (65 and over)
What can I do to sleep better?
Put the electronics down! There are many studies that show that electromagnetic radiation from electronics interferes with sleep. In addition, light from the television, electronics, or your clock can also affect the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. It is advised that all electronics be turned off at night, including wifi internet. They should be placed at least three feet away from your body.
Refrain from watching television an hour before bed.
Make sure you sleep in darkness as this affects melatonin production.
Establish a routine: make sure you go to bed at the same time each night as this will regulate your circadian rhythm.
Get plenty of exercises! Exercise will improve the quality of sleep and help you sleep better. Make sure you exercise at least two hours before bed as this can have the opposite effect if done right before bedtime.
Stay away from caffeine as its effects last for over six to eight hours. In addition, try to stay away from liquids right before bed as this may cause you to wake up and go to the bathroom, further disrupting sleep.
Is there anything natural that can help you sleep better?
There are many sleep supplements on the market. Most are very safe, however, before taking any sleep supplement, do so under the care of a health care provider that understands nutrient drug interactions because some of them can cause side effects and interfere with medications.
In addition, many medications can negatively affect your sleep. A thorough evaluation may be necessary to investigate these possibilities.
Melatonin is a hormone, which levels rise in response to darkness. Taking melatonin about thirty minutes before bed may help to get to sleep, getting better sleep, and staying asleep. Valerian root, passionflower, and skull cap are herbs that have calming effects.
They are also very helpful when your mind is racing and having trouble falling asleep. 5-htp and tryptophan are precursors to melatonin and serotonin, all involved with the sleep cycle.
If you want to sleep better I recommend taking a combination product to get the benefit of all of the supplements, however (you can even use the best sleeping tracker to track your results), do so under the advisement of healthcare professionals.
Interesting Sleep Facts (from the National Sleep Foundation)
Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep.
The higher the altitude, the greater the sleep disruption. Generally, sleep disturbance becomes greater at altitudes of 13,200 feet or more. The disturbance is thought to be caused by diminished oxygen levels and accompanying changes in respiration. Most people adjust to new altitudes in approximately two to three weeks.
In general, exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep and contributes to sounder sleep. However, exercising sporadically or right before going to bed will make falling asleep more difficult.
Divorced, widowed and separated people report more insomnia.
Six in ten healthcare professionals do not feel that they have enough time to have a discussion with their patients about insomnia during regular office visits.
More than eight in ten survey respondents think that people often or sometimes misuse prescription sleep aids.
Caffeine has been called the most popular drug in the world. All over the world people consume caffeine on a daily basis in coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, some soft drinks, and some drugs.
In general, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. However, some individuals are able to function without sleepiness or drowsiness after as little as six hours of sleep. Others can’t perform at their peak unless they’ve slept ten hours.
We naturally feel tired at two different times of the day: about 2:00 AM and 2:00 PM. It is this natural dip in alertness that is primarily responsible for the post-lunch dip.
Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.
According to the International Classifications of Sleep Disorders, shift workers are at increased risk for a variety of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases.
Newborns sleep a total of 14 to 17 hours a day on an irregular schedule with periods of one to three hours spent awake.
When infants are put to bed drowsy but not asleep, they are more likely to become “self-soothers,” which enables them to fall asleep independently at bedtime and put themselves back to sleep during the night.
Eighty-two percent of healthcare professionals believe that it is the responsibility of both the patient and the healthcare professional to bring up symptoms of insomnia during an appointment.
The body never adjusts to shift work!
There are individual differences in the need to nap. Some adults and children need to nap. However, the majority of teenagers probably nap in the afternoon because they are not sleeping enough at night.
Snoring is the primary cause of sleep disruption for approximately 90 million American adults; 37 million on a regular basis.
Scientists still don’t know — and probably never will — if animals dream during REM sleep, as humans do.
Some studies show promise for the use of melatonin in shortening the time it takes to fall asleep and reducing the number of awakenings, but not necessarily total sleep time.
- One of the primary causes of excessive sleepiness among Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation.
According to the results of NSF’s 2008 Sleep in America poll, 36 percent of Americans drive drowsy or fall asleep while driving.
People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase.
Rates of insomnia increase as a function of age, but most often the sleep disturbance is attributable to some other medical condition.
We all have problems sleeping from time to time but with the doctor’s tips, you can finally get some “shut-eye” at night and sleep better!