Just as eating healthy and exercising is essential for a healthy body, sleep is important as well. As you drift off to sleep, there’s a lot of homework that your body does to recharge you. From boosting your immune system to healing damaged cells, there are a lot of good things that happen to your body while you sleep.
So, let’s first understand exactly why a good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy and happy you. Here are the main reasons for it: –
- Mental health
Sleep is like food for your brain as it helps your brain function properly. When you’re sleeping, your brain is performing things to improve your memory. However, lack of sleep can leave you grumpy, irritated, and give you a bad memory. Plus, poor sleep can lead to an elevated level of stress. So, the better you sleep, the better is your ability to stay calm and composed.
- Physical health
Sleep keeps you feeling and looking healthy. When you sleep, your body performs some vital functions like healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. And if there’s an ongoing sleep deficiency, you are then at an increased risk of chronic diseases of heart, kidney, etc.
Good sleeping pattern helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). Lack of sleep can raise the level of ghrelin while lowering that of leptin, which makes you feel hungrier than otherwise. So, lack of sleep can, with time, lead to obesity.
A good night’s sleep gives you a refreshed feeling. On the contrary, a disturbed sleep can leave you sleepy and fatigued in the coming day. We all know the value of a good night’s sleep but our busy life, at the moment, isn’t leaving us with many choices to get the quality sleep needed to truly receive the health benefits of sleep.
Here are tips to help you get peaceful sleep
- Set your clock
Your body has a natural clock that governs your sleeping patterns. To optimize the quality of your sleep, make sure that you choose a time when you go to sleep and wake up. You can choose a bed time when you normally feel tired, and follow it every day.
Exercising will help you stay fit, relax your muscles, burn calories, and make you tired, which will in turn help you sleep better. The best time to exercise for a good night’s sleep is around four hours before bedtime, so that you have enough time to relax yourself, eat food and then sleep.
- Cut caffeine after noon
Caffeine is a stimulant that wakes you up from sleep; this is exactly why a cup of tea in the morning is helpful! If you have coffee or tea in the latter part of the day, around the evening or later, it may affect your sleeping pattern as it usually takes four to six hours to metabolize caffeine. So, if you’re losing sleep, it is better to skip that evening tea or coffee or that dark piece of chocolate you love to eat.
- Eat sleep-promoting foods
Foods that are high in tryptophan can promote sleep. As tryptophan is converted to serotonin and melatonin, which are sleep-promoting neurotransmitters, you feel sleepy when you eat these foods. Foods like dairy products, cheese, nuts, seeds, and grains, when combined with complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat toast or crackers, can help with your sleep.
Breathe deeply when you are trying to sleep as it helps reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, releases endorphins, and helps you relax. Relaxation and sleep has a lot to do with your bed as well. Use a mattress with firmness according to your comfort level. Also, use a pillow which keeps your spine and neck in a straight line. This avoids tension and cramps, and helps you get a relaxed sleep.
The damage from sleep deficiency can be immediate, such as an accident when you feel drowsy while driving; or it can harm you over a sustained period of time by raising your risk of chronic health problems. So if you’re feeling a bit run down and you don’t want increase your risk of falling ill, it is a tell-tale sign that you need to get strict about your sleep.