Healthy Sleep

Why Sleep Matters

Sleep is essential for maintaining optimal physical and mental health. It allows our bodies and minds to recharge so that we can function well the next day. Without enough sleep, your brain cannot function properly, leading to problems with concentration and memory.

Sleep research suggests that seven hours of rest a night is a healthy amount of sleep. However, 1 in 3 adults doesn’t sleep enough.

Explore this page for more information about the importance of healthy sleep, including what happens when you sleep, the benefits of healthy sleeping habits, how sleep deprivation affects your well-being, and how you can get better sleep.

What Happens When You Sleep

While you sleep, your body recharges and repairs itself in preparation for the next day. There are four stages of sleep, and each of them supports essential biological and therapeutic processes.

Here are the four stages of sleep:

NREM Stage 1

  • The beginning of the sleep cycle, when you first begin to doze off.
  • This stage involves relatively light sleep and is considered the transition period between wakefulness and sleep.
  • Brain waves slow

NREM Stage 2

  • Body temperature decreases, and breathing and heart rate become more regular
  • You become less aware of your surroundings
  • Brain waves come in bursts of rapid, rhythmic activity
    Makes up 50% of total sleep

NREM Stage 3

  • Muscles relax
  • Blood pressure and breathing rate drop
  • Deepest stage of sleep
  • Brain waves become deep and slow

REM Sleep

  • Brain becomes more active
  • Body becomes immobilized and relaxed
  • You have dreams
  • Eyes move rapidly

Benefits of Healthy Sleeping Habits

There are several benefits of healthy sleeping habits, including the following:

  • Improved mood
  • Better memory
  • Improved focus
  • Healthier heart
  • Better immune system

 

Proper rest is necessary for leading a healthy and happy life. Alternatively, poor sleeping habits can lead to a variety of health concerns and worsen your overall quality of life.

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep, it can impact your mood, memory, and health in more ways than you may realize.

Sleep deprivation has been associated with an increased risk of developing the following:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

 

Sleep deprivation can age your brain by 3-5 years. It affects your safety, too. At least 6,000 crashes a year are caused by driving while sleepy, and 1 in 25 adults has fallen asleep at the wheel in the past month alone.

How You Can Get Better Sleep

If you’re trying to improve the quality of your sleep, consider creating a bedtime routine. Giving yourself a routine to follow every night allows your mind and body to relax before you settle into your bed.

While creating a routine, try to incorporate…

  • Consistency
  • A healthy diet made of small snacks if you eat just before bed
  • Meditation, yoga, or mindfulness
  • A warm bath or another relaxing activity

Similarly, your routine should not include…

  • Alcohol and caffeine consumption before bed
  • Nicotine
  • Using electronic devices right before bed
  • Bright light in the evenings
  • Large meals before bedtime

 

Try these tips out and see if they help. However, if your sleep problem persists, reach out to your medical provider. They will be able to help create a treatment plan suitable for your needs.