What Sleep Means To Your Health
Most people think that sleep is merely a time when the body rests, when you get to hit the reboot switch and gain back all the energy that was lost during the day. But sleep is so much more important to the human mind and body.
It is when we sleep that our neurological system repairs. Things like, cognitive function and reaction time are all related to the neurological system, and thus related to sleep. If you are a sportsperson and are not hitting, catching, throwing or kicking like you should, it is likely that you are not getting enough quality sleep. And if you have a foggy mind, and have trouble thinking deeply and staying focused, it is very likely that inadequate sleep is at the root of your problems.
Sleep is even responsible for the regulation of appetite, and if you get insufficient quality sleep, you are more prone to making poor dietary choices. So there is actually a physiological reason why junk food and candy has so much more appeal when you haven’t slept well, your appetite hormones are out of whack.
Fewer than 1% of people are able to get what they need from four hours of sleep, the rest of us need as much sleep as possible to repair and balance our bodies, and to grow and develop our minds. It is recommended that most people get between seven and nine hours of sleep every twenty-four-hour cycle. Many high-performance athletes need as much as ten hours of sleep a day.
Sleep hygiene, which is the practice of sleep habits that promote good quality sleep, has four main areas that must be addressed if good quality sleep is to be achieved, and those are; relaxation, light, cold and silence.
Relaxation: This means that your bed is only meant for either sex or sleeping. No highly stimulating activities are to be done in bed, no T.V., no work, no cellphone, and no reading of books that require too much mental work, like how-to books and instruction manuals.
Light: This means that your bedroom is supposed to be as dark as possible, black-out curtains are a useful tool. Many people think that it is sufficient to simply wear a sleep mask, but it has been discovered that your skin has photoreceptor cells which pick up on light, which works against your sleep.
Cold: Scientists have found that neurological repair works best in cold temperatures. So you want to keep the temperature of your home between sixty-two and sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit while sleeping. The deep sleep you will be able to achieve is reduced by as much as half if you go over seventy degrees while sleeping.
Silence: This does not mean the complete absence of noise, rather it means the absence of noises that will disrupt your sleep. Many people make use of sleep noise apps, which play sounds that are soothing to the mind, and which lulls the mind into a deep sleep.
There are many other “sleep hacks” that you can employ to ensure that you get the best quality sleep possible, but if you are able to work on these four main areas, you will be well on your way to a fantastic night’s rest.