Sleeping well is essential to health and quality of life. Lack of adequate sleep causes the most diverse ailments, including chronic fatigue, weakened immune system, memory loss, obesity and many others. Irregular hours, excessive caffeine intake or exercise before bed are some of the worst habits that we shouldn’t do if we want to get quality sleep. Sleep is important, but even more so is resting well.
The most common sleep disorder is insomnia. Insomnia primarily affects the quality of life. Much more worrisome, and also one of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea. Apnea is a complete cessation of breathing for at least ten seconds, repeated hundreds of times a night. This causes a decrease in the amount of oxygen in the blood that is distributed throughout the body. It is a risk factor of the first order for the development of hypertension and cardiovascular and brain vascular diseases, particularly heart attacks.
If your sleep is not as good as you’d like, here are some tips and tricks you can try to achieve a restful sleep:
- Sleep in the dark. The darker your room, the better. Shut the door, windows, and never sleep with the light on or light from your TV. Even seemingly harmless lights as LEDs may hinder melatonin production.
- Try lowering the room temperature. Studies show that the ideal temperature for sleeping is 21°C. Very hot rooms lead to restless sleep. If desired, use products such as a fan or air conditioning.
- Remove the bright view clocks. The clock, in addition to being an unwanted light source, is also a source of anxiety when you can not sleep. Withdrawing the facility to check the time, the time anxiety decreases.
- Avoid using loud alarm clocks. Waking up in the morning “taking a fright” is bad for health. This causes a stress response in the body and affects your entire day. If you need a loud noise to wake up, it is probably because you’re not getting enough sleep.
- Go to bed as soon as possible. Research shows that the most restful sleep is that during the hours of 11:00 pm and 1:00 am, as it is in this period that most of your body “recharges”.
- Keep the same sleep schedule. To sleep and always wake up at the same times, your body creates a natural rhythm of sleep, making it easier to fall asleep at night and waking up in the morning.
- Establish a sleep routine. Create a “ritual” for bedtime helps signal the body that it’s time to hang up. This ritual can include skin care, breathing, meditation, and anything else that helps you relax.
- Take a hot bath before bed. When the body temperature rises to a warmer room, then it has to fall. This drop in temperature is a natural flag to the body that it’s time to go to bed.
- Do not stimulate your mind 1 hour before going to sleep. Try not to get involved with work, or mental activities before bed. Look for light and fun activities. This will lessen your anxiety to fall asleep, and will give you a less restless sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant it takes about 6 hours to be removed completely from the blood. Alcohol apparently aids in sleep, but doesn’t allow you to have the deepest stages of sleep. It can also keep you up at night.
- Observe the evening meals. Avoid fried foods and lots of meat. As a snack before bedtime, banana is perfect because it contains tryptophan – essential for formation of melatonin. Other interesting food for the evening are: lettuce, cabbage and oats.
- Have an active day. Tiredness during the day is a sign of ill health. Tired at bedtime is super healthy and desirable. But avoid exercise close to bedtime, it can be stimulating. Exercise in the morning are always the most efficient.
- Lose weight. Obesity increases sleep apnea, a condition that dramatically affects the quality of sleep, making it insufficient. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of obesity, forming a vicious circle. For this and other reasons, eliminating obesity should always be a top priority.
How many hours of sleep is enough for good health?
The amount of sleep you need depends on various factors, especially your age. Consider these general guidelines for different age groups:
|Age Group||Recommended Amount of Sleep|
|Newborns (up to 3 months old)||14-17 hours|
|Infants (4 to 11 months)||12-15 hours|
|Toddlers (ages 1 to 2)||11-14 hours|
|Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5)||10-13 hours|
|School-age Children (ages 6 to 13)||9-11 hours|
|Teenagers (ages 14 to 17)||7-9 hours|
|Younger Adults (ages 18 to 25)||7-9 hours|
|Adults (ages to 26 to 64)||7-9 hours|
|Older Adults (ages 65 and older)||7-8 hours|
– Take a nap! A ‘break’ of about 20-30 minutes after eating is recommended; nothing more than 40 minutes to avoid entering a phase of deeper sleep is recommended, to prevent further tiredness. To avoid excessively prolonging the time, it is advisable that the nap is never done in bed.
– Take a glass of warm milk before bed. Milk has tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that helps regulate adequate levels of serotonin in the brain and therefore have relaxing properties and induces sleep. Eggs and whole grains also have tryptophan.
What about you? How is the quality of your sleep? Did you find some of these tips useful?