Sleep Your Way To Better Health

woman arms up sleep

Quality Of Sleep Matters When Creating Good Health.

All-nighters, party all night long, night shifts and working until the crack of dawn: what do all of these things have in common?

These phrases are sometimes glorified in our culture. In the work sense, “burning the midnight oil” is seen as a sign of hard work and dedication. For the younger crowd, partying until 4 a.m. is a  sign you had a “great night”…ahh to be young again!

For some, insomnia is an issue and even though you want to get the sleep you need, something keeps you up a night. The amount and  the quality of how you sleep has a huge impact on your health. This goes for both mental and physical health.

The occasional all-nighter on an important project or travel plans with overnight flights might be necessary. However, if you’re staying up until 3 a.m. or longer every night then getting up early for work you’re asking for health trouble.

The effects of poor sleep are usually fatigue (mental and physical), poor judgement and decision-making, and lack of focus. (Maybe that’s why the young party crowd thinks they had a great time when staying up all night?)

You might describe the feeling after a poor night of sleep or no sleep as feeling “groggy”, “foggy” or a “low-energy day.” Don’t ignore the signs that you need more and better sleep. Sleep deprivation is dangerous and should be taken seriously. The goal should be to get quality sleep.

Quality Sleep is Twofold:
1. Sleep enough hours each night.
2. Make sure your sleep is undisturbed and meaningful.

Take a look at those two components and see how they fit into your life.
Dedicate 6-8 hours to undisturbed sleep each night. You might need to make some adjustments in your normal routine but your health will benefit greatly along with your quality of life.

Keep reading to get a few helpful tips and tricks to get better quality sleep even if you have a busy schedule.

Reasons Why Your Sleep Isn’t As Good As It Could Be

Modern society has a whole host of  issues with which our ancestors never had to contend Modern era poor habits like a sedentary or low-activity lifestyle can be difficult to change and for those who work overnight shifts, developing a healthy sleep habit can be challenging.

Working overnight shifts is shown to increase risks of certain diseases along with general mortality risk. When you work overnight shifts your body is thrown off its natural schedule. Our bodies are regulated by circadian rhythms, a natural 24 hour physiological clock that affects living things. This internal clock can be influenced by sunlight and temperature.

This Can Also Create A Deadly Cycle.

Let’s say you work late hours. You are exposed, all night long to artificial bright lights (which are themselves tied to increasing risk of cancer). By the time you get home in the morning, all you want to do is sleep. So, now you’re missing out on natural sunlight which is beneficial to your health. Now your circadian (sleep) rhythm is off and will be difficult to adjust.

A lot of these issues are caused by the disruption of melatonin in your body. Melatonin supplementation may be important for you. Melatonin is an important hormone that regulates restful sleep and supports immune function. This could be the reason why people who stay up late get sick more often than those who don’t.

Sleep female

What Can You Do To Fix Your Sleep?

A bad habit can be fixed by using a dedicated approach and taking the time to focus on change.

Your sleep is critically important for good health. If you suffer from lack of sleep or poor quality sleep, correcting this problem could make a huge difference in your overall health, general outlook and sense of well-being.

Here’s what you can do, in no particular order. Start with the tip that easiest to apply tonight.

● Turn off phones, tablets, TV’s, and other screens soon after the sun sets. Screens emit “blue light” which is similar to sunlight so your body’s rhythm is thrown off when exposed. If you use a screen at night, install blue-blocking apps such as “f.lux” and “twilight” onto your devices. Both apps are free and easy to install.
● If you work an overnight shift job, consider getting a different job. Most overnight shift jobs are not the best jobs anyway and sometimes have bad conditions beyond the poor hours. If you must work a shift job, do your best to get the day shift. Easy to do on paper, but if you have a legitimate health concern it might be in your best interest.
● Wear blue-blocker glasses if working at night. A low-cost, and easy to wear item.
● Invest in a quality bed and bedding. You spend about a third of your life sleeping, you should be as comfortable as possible!
● Exercise and become more active throughout the day. The more energy you use up the more likely you will fall asleep fast and stay asleep all night.
● Supplements: Melatonin, L-Theanine, 5-HTP, Chamomile, Zinc/Magnesium supplementation has been shown to work wonders for people. Use what works best for you. Avoid prescription sleep medications. They tend to be habit forming and have serious side effects.

Better Quality Sleep Will Lead To a Healthier Life

Without a doubt getting a good night’s sleep on a routine basis will make you feel better and give you more energy. Plus, you increase your chances of a longer life.

If you have issues getting quality sleep, try some of the suggestions above and let us know how you’re doing on your quest for better sleep.

 

References

Davis, Scott, Dana K. Mirick, and Richard G. Stevens. “Night shift work, light at night, and risk of breast cancer.” Journal of the national cancer institute 93.20 (2001): 1557-1562.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/circadian_rhythm.htm

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bright-light-speeds-up-aging-in-mice/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/science-explains-why-we-really-do-need-to-sleep-a-third-of-our-lives-away/

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