When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep? If you are like most people these days, you probably have not thought about it. Even if you know sleep is important, it may not be high on your list of priorities. Now is the time to make some changes! Full nights of restful sleep can lead to better health and a more fulfilling life.
Why Do You Need Sleep?
Sleep is your body’s opportunity to restore and repair itself. As you sleep, organs, muscles, and cells throughout your body are repaired. Your immune system is strengthened by chemicals circulating through your bloodstream while you sleep. For these reasons, your overall good health depends on sleep. Your brain requires sleep, too. It is essential for your brain to function properly. Your ability to learn, remember, process information, be creative, and be attentive all depend on sleep. As sleep repairs your body, it also repairs your mind.Sleep affects the hormone levels in your body. As you may know, hormones play many roles. As examples, your hormones affect your fight-or-flight response, and your ability to lose weight. Most people, though, notice one main reason sleep is so important. It affects the way you feel during the day. Virtually every aspect of your daily life can be affected by sleep deprivation.
What You Need To Know About Sleep Deprivation
When you do not get a good night’s sleep, you feel terrible during the day. You feel tired, listless, and want to go back to bed. All of these features can affect your everyday life. You do not feel up to meeting your responsibilities at home or work, have less interest in your personal relationships, and do not feel like having fun. However, while you notice the effects of sleep deprivation on the way you feel and your daily life, there can be more serious complications. Lack of sleep greatly increases your risk of accidents. From slip and fall accidents to accidents while driving, sleep deprivation means you are impaired. Neither your judgment nor your motor skills function as well when you have not slept. Your coordination and balance are both affected by lack of sleep.
The effects on your body increase your risk of illness. As sleep deprivation weakens your immune system, you are more likely to develop minor illnesses such as colds. If you do become ill, it will take longer for you to recover. Lack of sleep can also increase your risk of serious medical conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer. If you have been trying to lose weight but not succeeding, sleep deprivation may be the reason. In addition to hormones that control your appetite, hormones also control your insulin levels. If your hormone levels are not stable, it can be difficult to maintain your ideal weight. Sleep deprivation can interfere with emotional balance. You may feel grumpy, argumentative, depressed, or even out of control. Perhaps you want to pick fights with everybody, or simply withdraw from everyone around you. Your ability to react appropriately can also be impaired.
Your stress hormones may result in irrational responses to stressful situations. There can be many complications associated with impaired brain function. From concentration to memory and decision-making processes, your brain cannot work at its best when you do not get enough sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can increase your risk of mental health problems. Examples include frustration, confusion, depression, and anxiety. Your life expectancy can be shortened if you suffer from sleep deprivation. Some studies show the risk of premature death is increased by 12 percent in people who do not get enough sleep. For individuals whose insomnia is chronic and long-term, the risk is significantly higher.
Why Do You Have Insomnia?
There are numerous medical conditions and mental health conditions that can affect a person’s ability to sleep. There are also various medications that can have this effect. This is why it is a good idea to discuss your sleep problems with your doctor. In most cases, though, insomnia is caused by lifestyle factors. Poor sleep habits, an erratic schedule, too much alcohol, and stress are only a few examples. The good news is lifestyle factors can be changed so you enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Best Practices To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
When you want healthy, restful sleep to be part of your life, you have a number of options. One option is to consider lifestyle changes. You can enjoy the benefits of sleep by making some changes in your daily life. First, prepare your bedroom so you will look forward to bedtime. As each person has their own preferences, choose the temperature that is comfortable for you. You may decide to open the window for fresh air, turn on the air conditioner, or change the temperature setting on your thermostat. Preparation includes making your bedroom an inviting place. Remove clutter and debris so the room is neat and clean. Make sure your bedding is attractive, fresh, and comfortable. Assess the condition of your mattress. You cannot sleep very well if your mattress is old, lumpy, or torn.
Consider investing in a new mattress with the firmness that meets your needs. Some people like to sleep in the dark, while others prefer some light. Choose the option that works best for you. Eliminate distractions and noise, such as electronics and pets. Decide on the time you must be awake in the morning, and set your alarm clock to reflect 8 hours of sleep. Choose this as your bedtime. Adhere to it unless there is a genuine emergency. Preparing for sleep should start hours before plan to go to bed. Avoid activities that promote alertness, such as strenuous exercise, using electronic devices, and late naps. While you should not eat heavy meals in the evening, there are some foods and beverages you should definitely avoid. Do not eat or drink anything that contains caffeine, highly spiced foods, or alcohol. If you use tobacco products, this is a good time to quit. If you are not ready to take this step, limit your use to earlier in the day.
Natural Techniques For Better Sleep
When you want all the benefits of sleep, you need to be physically, mentally, and emotionally relaxed at bedtime. There are some natural ways you can achieve these goals.
One option is to practice yoga. The simplest poses will relax your body, mind, and spirit. You do not need to be an expert to enjoy and appreciate these benefits.
A second option is to soothe yourself with a long, warm bath. You will start to feel your stress and worries drift away as you relax in the tub. If you wish, you can create a relaxing atmosphere with bubble bath or scented oils.
A third option is to read a book. For the best results, choose reading material that is interesting but calm. When you want to fall asleep easily, you do not want a book that causes strong emotional reactions.
A fourth option is an old-fashioned approach that works. Treat yourself to a warm glass of milk. If you prefer, you can add a small amount of honey. This warm drink is soothing and relaxing.
Over The Counter Sleep Aids
You may find some of these options useful, but are still having trouble with sleep. Perhaps you have been told over the counter products are dangerous. If you choose a natural sleeping aid, though, you can avoid the complications. Natural products do not contain drugs, and they are not habit-forming.
Natrol’s Melatonin Advanced Sleep is one of the best sleeping pills in this category. It is an all-natural supplement containing melatonin, calcium, and Vitamin B-6. Melatonin may help you fall asleep faster, and increase your overall quality of sleep. As melatonin is a natural hormone, most people do not experience serious side effects. This product has a time-controlled formula. The initial dosage in a pill helps you fall asleep, and the remaining dosage can help you stay asleep. The Vitamin B-6 helps your body produce more natural melatonin.
Vitafusion Sleep Well is an edible gummy. In addition to melatonin, it contains herbal ingredients. Passion Flower Extract may reduce stress. Chamomile Flower Extract has calming effects and acts like a mild tranquilizer. Lemon Balm Leaf Extract is a natural sleep aid.
Sleep Support Plus is another highly rated over the counter sleep aid. Customers have given it a 5-star rating. This all-natural product contains melatonin, tryptophan, Lemon Balm, Goji Berry, Chamomile, and Valerian. You can feel calm, relaxed, and ready for sleep from its natural formula. It is said to be one of the most effective natural products for sleep.
These three over the counter products contain no drugs. However, some people should check with their doctors before using any supplement. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking prescription medications, or have a serious medical condition, ask your physician’s approval before taking one of these products.
Prescription Sleep Aids
In some cases, all of the best efforts do not result in restful sleep. If this describes your experiences, do not hesitate to consult with your personal physician. You may have an underlying medical issue that affects your ability to sleep, or your doctor may simply recommend a method you have not tried. If your doctor advises a prescription sleep aid, though, it is wise to follow his advice. Never use a prescription medication unless it was given to you by your own doctor.
Ambien and Ambien CR are commonly-used prescription sleeping pills. These pills work somewhat differently. Ambien can help you fall asleep, while Ambien CR can help you stay asleep throughout the night. As your doctor takes your medical history, he will know which product is right for you.
Lunesta, a sedative, works on chemicals in your brain. It can help you become relaxed, fall asleep, and sleep throughout the night. While side effects are generally minor, some people experience severe side effects. Discuss your medical history and your concerns with your physician.
Prosom is also used to treat insomnia. It is meant to balance the chemicals in your brain. Minor side effects may include dizziness, and sleepiness during the daytime. While serious side effects are rare, they can occur.
Doxepin may be prescribed if your insomnia is due to tension, stress, or anxiety. It is a tricyclic antidepressant. The product increases natural substances that are in your brain. It can help you achieve a balanced mental state so you can fall asleep. While it may cause a wide range of minor side effects, serious side effects may also occur.
If your physician prescribes a medication, it is because he believes its benefits are greater than its risks. You should make sure he has full information on your medical history, any health problems you currently have, and any other medications you are taking whether they are prescriptions or over the counter. The more your doctor knows about your health, the easier it will be for him to choose the product that is best for you.
You Too Can Enjoy The Benefits Of Sleep
If it has been a long time since you had a full night of sleep, you can prepare for some wonderful changes! You will start to awaken in the mornings feeling rested and refreshed. You will be ready for the day. Instead of feeling fatigued, uncoordinated, and foggy, you will feel good! Unless you have a medical condition for which your doctor recommends a different sleep schedule, consider 8 hours of sleep each night to be ideal. After you have started sleeping through the night, you may find 7 hours or 9 hours works better for you. Perhaps you recall what it was like in childhood when you had a bedtime every night. Regardless of your age, or how long you have had trouble sleeping, it is not too late to return to those positive sleep habits. Whether you simply need to change some lifestyle factors, learn relaxation techniques, try a natural product, or seek help from your doctor, your life will change for the better. With restful sleep each night, you will be rewarded with good health and a happier life.