Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Power of Sleep



"Sleep is that golden 
chain that ties health 
and our bodies together." 
~ Thomas Dekker




"Consistently sleeping less than six hours a night nearly doubles your risk of heart attack and stroke, according to the European Heart Journal (Ferrari, 2017)."

"Sleep deprivation can cause damage to your body in the short term. Over time, it can lead to chronic health problems and negatively impact your quality of life (Pietrangelo, 2014)."

Your brain can not function properly when you're sleep deprived. When sleep deprivation is prolonged, it can lower your body's defenses, and put you at risk for chronic illnesses. Some signs of sleep deprivation are, yawning, irritability, and excessive sleepiness. When it becomes chronic, it can interfere with coordination, balance, and ability to make decisions. You're at risk for falling asleep during the day, and stimulants such as caffeine can't override your body's need for sleep (2014).

Alcohol consumption magnifies the effects of sleep deprivation. Your chances of having an accident are also increased because of being deprived of sleep. "Sleeping less than five hours a night increases the risk of death from all causes by 15 percent," according to a Harvard Medical School study. It is dangerous to your mental health, and your physical health, and can lower your quality of life, drastically (2014).

Here are 16 effects of sleep deprivation on the body:

  1. Yawning
  2. Memory problems
  3. Hallucinations
  4. Micro-sleep
  5. Weight gain
  6. Weakened immune response
  7. High blood pressure
  8. Moodiness
  9. Depression
  10. Cold and Flu
  11. Accident prone
  12. Impaired brain activity
  13. Cognitive dysfunction
  14. Type 2 Diabetes
  15. Heart disease
  16. Accidental death (2014)
As you can see, not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to your health and well-being. I know people who have problems with sleeping for more than 4 hours a night. I hope that the following information can help them, and many others to get a healthy amount of sleep every night.

Here are some sleep tips from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Make the room pitch-black dark
  • Set the thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees
  • Exercise every day
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule (same time going to sleep and getting up daily)
  • Shut down your electronics an hour before retiring (the light from these devices can stimulate the brain)
  • Replace your mattress about every 10 years (2017).

For me personally, I am quite fortunate to sleep well every night. Although the tips above are from professionals in the sleep business, everyone will have different things that work for them, and these are mine:

I leave my TV on until right before I'm ready to fall asleep, then it goes off. When I was younger, I used to need my TV on in order to go to sleep, and many times it would remain on until I awoke, or I would turn it off in the middle of the night. I now find the quiet and darkness much more conducive to a great nights sleep.

I make sure that everything is off, including my bathroom nightlight. A pitch black bedroom helps me to get a peaceful sleep. I make sure that my blinds are turned up so that the moonlight doesn't show, and the early morning light doesn't wake me up sooner than I wish. I make sure that my cell phone goes black.

I sleep with a fan on every single night; spring, summer, fall and winter. Actually, my fan is on at all times while I'm in my bedroom, because it is quite soothing to me. It's not just about the breeze of the fan, because I will still have it on in the dead of winter, when it's cold and I'm under my blankets and comforter. As a matter of fact, research has shown that the "white noise" of a fan is soothing for many people, but it doesn't work for everyone (Lecher, 2014).

My bed is super comfy with a good (but not too expensive) mattress. Please try to stay away from refurbished mattresses. I know that they serve a purpose when you need a mattress, and your funds are low; but it may be worth it to wait until the time of year when mattresses are on sale, in order to get a good mattress for a great price. "Most experts recommend purchasing a mattress near a holiday -- like Presidents Day, Labor Day, the Fourth of July, and Memorial Day, or in the month of May (Strutner, 2015)."

Reading puts me to sleep every-time. This is a blessing and a curse, because I love to read, but I can't read much more than an hour before I drift off to sleep. No one has been able to tell me why, but it works every-time, whether I want it to or not. So for some, this is a way to get to sleep if you're having problems getting to sleep.

Other things that I've read that work for some other people are:

  • Changing your bed linens at least once a week. I have to agree that fresh bed linens make a good nights sleep even nicer.
  • Taking a bath or shower right before getting into bed. Bathing right before jumping into bed feels good, and having those nice smelling body lotions are even nicer for me. I love the scent that's left on the sheets and covers. But for some, those scents can be a distraction to sleep, so once again, you have to know what works for you.
  • Don't eat spicy or pungent (onions, garlic, etc.) foods before bed. Those strong flavors and scents can linger on your palate and on your hands if you were the cook, and cause distractions to sleep, and can even cause you to wake up several times a night. 
  • Don't eat a heavy meal within 2 hours of bedtime. This isn't a good idea for many reasons.
  • Meditation and/or prayer. Learn to turn off daily stressors. Meditation or prayer can help to shut down those thoughts or shift those energies to other forms or entities (depending on your beliefs). You can pick them back up the next day, but try to learn to leave them at the bedroom door, if you can, or let your meditation practices dissolve them temporarily.
  • Forget counting sheep! Try counting backwards by 3's from 300. "It forces me to focus enough to block out stressors, but at the same time, it's really boring and puts me right to sleep. I guarantee that even if you do it every night for a month, you still won't make it to the single digits (Pikul, 2015)."
  • To each, your own blanket. Just think about how you and your significant other are always tugging at the same blanket. Just think about what John Dittami (an Austrian based sleep researcher) said, "...using one blanket for two people is not conducive to good sleep (2015)." Makes sense, right? Such a simple solution to an age old problem.
  • Keep the TV out of the bedroom. Their are some people who don't even put a television in their bedrooms. Their bedrooms are strickly for sleeping (and intimacy).
  • Drinking alcohol can interfere with sleep. For me, this is a hit or miss. Sometimes drinking puts me right to sleep, and other times it interferes with a good nights sleep. So I would say, if your looking for a good nights sleep, stay away from the stuff.
  • SEX!!!! Need I say more? 😉

One thing for sure is that all things don't work for everyone, so if you have problems sleeping, you have to find what works for you. Please access the links below and read what others do, and what the sleep experts do to get a good nights sleep. Hopefully, some of these things will help for you. Sleep Tight! 😊       💤😴 💤

References

Ferrari, N. (2017, March). 50 ways to live a longer, healthier life. AARP.org.
     Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/
     50-ways-to-live-longer.html

Lecher, C. (2014, February 17). Why does white noise help people sleep.
     Popsci.com. Retrieved from http://www.popsci.com/article/science/
     fyi-why-does-white-noise-help-people-sleep

Pietrangelo, A. (2014, August 19). The effects of sleep deprivation on the
     body. Healthline.com. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health/
     sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body
   
Pikul, C. (2015, April 8). What sleep experts do to get a good nights rest.
     Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/
     08/27/sleep-better-expert-advice_n_3804979.html

Strutner, S. (2015, January, 9). What nobody tells you about buying a
     mattress. The Huffington Post.com. Retrieved from http://www.
     huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/09/how-to-buy-a-mattress_n_6431374.html

Photo by Pixabay.com

6 comments:

  1. I would like to add that resting is also good for a body. Before I go to sleep, I am usually in bed just resting with a good movie. Sometimes I don't make it through the opening credits. lol

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    1. That works for me as well. But then I may have crazy dreams.lol based off what I fell asleep watching

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  2. I barely sleep and I tell myself "I dont get tired" or "Ill sleep when Im dead" however sometimes Im exhausted cranky and a crybaby. Just this week Ive begin to get some beauty rest. A tired face aint nothin nice. Em

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    Replies
    1. Well, I hope that some of these suggestions work for you, lady. There's nothing like a good nights sleep! :-)

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