Sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. It’s not a nice addition; it is a necessity for well-being. Not getting enough sleep is linked to serious chronic health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and weakened immune function. It also compromises your ability to handle stress.
But the influence of sleep doesn’t stop there. Research shows that poor sleeping habits have been found to shorten a person’s lifespan. Getting enough quality sleep is essential. While it can’t promise longevity, it keeps your vital body processes moving as they should. Let’s talk about what sleeping habits you should add to your routine tonight.
What happens when we sleep?
Although you are not moving, your body is active while you sleep. There are important mental and physical processes that take place while we sleep.
Let’s start with the brain. Cognitive function depends on sleep. Sleep allows the brain to form new neural pathways to complete other cognitive functions such as learning, concentration and problem solving. According to Harvard Health, your brain also uses sleep as a time to clear out toxins that build up while you’re awake.
Memory consolidation also takes place while we sleep. Think about it this way, when you’re awake, you absorb the information, but it just floats around in your head. You have to go to sleep to understand what it means and to remember it from long-term memory.
Physically, sleep helps your body repair itself, including muscles, organs, and cells. It also grows tissues and releases hormones that aid in the growth and repair of the body. Another important function that sleep allows the body is to fight disease. While sleeping, the immune system releases cytokines, a small protein that reduces inflammation or infection.
3 sleeping habits to implement if you want to live longer
A lot happens during sleep, all of which are essential for overall health. Try these sleep tips to make sure you’re as healthy as possible.
Sleep about 7 hours a night
For starters, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. According to the CDC, adults should sleep an average of 7 hours or more each night. Not just any kind of sleep will do; it should be uninterrupted and soothing. You want to get as much deep sleep if possible. Deep sleep is one of the most important stages, as it gives your brain and body a chance to rest and recover from the day.
OK, so you can’t choose what kind of sleep you get. However, there are things you can do while awake to prepare yourself to successfully progress through the sleep stages and meet your deep sleep quota.
Use these tips to maximize your sleep quality and duration:
- Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bed: It’s best to have your consumption of caffeine until morning and early afternoon. Stop drinking it about 4 to 6 hours before bed so it doesn’t affect your ability to fall asleep.
- Do not drink alcohol before bed: For some people, alcohol can relax them enough to fall asleep easily. However, that bliss doesn’t last long. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant calms the excitatory nerve cells in the brain. As your body metabolizes the alcohol, these cells bounce back and you wake up.
- Invest in sleeping essentials: To get the best sleep possible, take care of your bedroom is a true sleep sanctuary. From bedding to your mattress to blackout curtains, it’s important to make the right choices for your sleeping needs.
- Exercise a few hours before bedtime: The timing of your workout helps determine how well you sleep. Intense exercise sessions should generally not be done right before bed, as they increase your heart rate and stimulate your nervous system, making falling asleep difficult. It’s best to keep up your vigorous workouts at least an hour before bed. That being said, low-impact yoga sessions can be performed just before bed as they can improve your quality of sleep.
- Try to manage anxiety: Anxiety can really put a strain on your ability to sleep. Nasty manage anxiety symptoms use before going to sleep a meditation app or sleep with one weighted blanket to manage anxiety symptoms at bedtime.
Address your sleep apnea
You’d be surprised how many people don’t get treatment their sleep apnea. I understand. The masks can be uncomfortable and the pumping of the machine can keep your partner awake. But you shouldn’t ignore your sleep apnea.
The nature of sleep apnea prevents you from sleeping well without treatment. If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing while you sleep because your throat muscles relax too much and block your airways. The result is that you wake up. It can happen a few times or hundreds of times a night. No matter how long you sleep with untreated sleep apnea, you never feel rested.
Studies have shown that sleep apnea may contribute to an “older” biological age and accelerated aging. It has also been shown to contribute to chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and high blood pressure heart attack.
Seeking treatment for sleep apnea can reduce your risk of health problems and help you sleep better at night.
Stick to your sleep routine
Do you ever find yourself getting tired around the same time every night? That has a very good reason. Our body has a natural sleep-wake cycle called the circadian rhythm. It’s the thing that helps us relax enough to fall asleep by flooding our brain with melatonin.
Keep the same sleep and wake time helps you keep circadian rhythm aligned. You will experience a disturbed circadian rhythm drowsiness during the day and difficulty concentrating. Try to go to sleep as often as possible and wake up at the same time every day. Yes, also on weekends.
Sleep is the foundation of our health. Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do to ensure you live a long and happy life. Start being aware of your sleep tonight.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.
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