Everyone understands how wonderful a good night’s sleep is. A few hours, where one is cut off from the world and is able to reset and recharge, in order to be able to face the world when he wakes up. Not getting enough sleep can leave one feeling groggy, irritated and confused. It can leave lasting damage on the brain, leading to neurological illnesses. The benefit of sound sleep is not just mental, but also physical; it helps to repair our blood and heart vessels. Not getting enough sleep can cause damage to the organs such as heart, kidney, liver and brain. Sleep requirements vary from person to person. An adult needs at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep while a child or teenager needs even more.
Harmful effects of lack of sleep
It is during our sleep that our mind organizes our memories and makes them stronger. The brain forms connections, consolidates, and helps us store and retain important information for a longer period of time. A common trait amongst insomniacs is their difficulty to recall and remember various things and events. A lack of sleep can compromise our memory, both in the long and short term. According to research, sleep deprivation makes it difficult for the brain cells to communicate effectively which in return lead to mental lapses that effect memory and visual perception.
Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep experience more negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and stress. Sleeplessness is also often a symptom of a bigger underlying problem such as stress mood disorder, or depression.
Sleep plays a critical role in our learning and thinking. A lack of sleep can result in an inability to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. It can also affect our awareness of the surrounding, our alertness, and out reasoning, resulting in accidents. A lack of sleep can also take a toll on our creative ability, making us feel burnt out. A good stretch of sleep will help the creative juices to get flowing.
Weak immune system
Lack of sleep can sometimes result in weakened immunity as it suppresses the immune system function. The body has a difficult time fighting off viruses and hence the person falls sick more often. Studies show that sleep deprivation causes T-cells go down. T cells are also known as T lymphocytes and are one of the major components of the immune system, helping the body fight infections, producing cytokines and regulating the immune response.
A lack of sleep can sometimes affect your body in the form of weight fluctuations. A lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain and in some cases even obesity. In the long term sleep deprivation can also lead to weight gain related heart diseases. This is due to the body’s craving for junk and unhealthy foods when it is functioning on less sleep. It results in poor self-control and hence, indulgence.
Ways to get a good sleep
Spend time outdoors
During the day, try to spend as much time outdoor as possible. Natural sunlight helps to the body’s natural time clock known as the circadian rhythm healthy. It boosts daytime energy levels and promotes healthy and sound sleep at night. In a study, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration in people with insomnia.
Shorten daytime naps
Long daytime naps can disrupt the circadian rhythm of the body, resulting in restless sleep during the night. While it is recommended to take a short 25-30 minutes power nap during the day, anything longer than that should be avoided. Sleeping early at night is better for the body than long daytime naps and sleeping late at night.
Many people enjoy the tea-drinking ritual before going to bed as it has a calming effect on the body. However, it is important to ensure that the tea is free from the sleep disrupting caffeine. Herbal teas such as chamomile and peppermint herbal teas are free of caffeine and have sleep inducing properties. The aroma of the tea is relaxing and calms you down, helping you settle in for a good night’s sleep.
Aromatherapy is a healing treatment using natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. The aroma of the essential oils soothes and relaxes the mind, body and spirit and is known to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Lavender essential oil is a personal favorite go-to for nights when sleep is not coming by easily.
Summing up, sleep really is a miracle of Mother Nature, helping our body, mind and spirit in so many ways, without us even being consciously aware of it. This is why it is extremely important to keep healthy sleep patterns and to try to get them straight as soon as possible if they are disrupted.