Modernity demands constant attention to detail and a state of constant chaos. Unfortunately, this equates to nearly half of the population suffering from insomnia, inability to go to sleep at a suitable hour, and additional health problems. Sleep problems affect all age groups and ethnicities, and additional studies have shown poor sleep quality contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Take a look at how sleep affects the body, recommended guidelines, and how you can improve your chances of getting a restful night.
Natural Cleansing of the Mind and Body
While the brain’s glial cells, which are responsible for managing the glymphatic system, continuously secret toxic wastes from cerebrospinal fluid into the circulatory system, this system begins functioning at a faster pace during sleep. Additionally, maintaining an uninterrupted sleep duration gives skeletal muscles the opportunity to rest and replenish ATP—the energy molecule of the body. While awake, brain cells increase in size substantially, which reduces waste removal processes.
Negative Effects of Inadequate Sleep
Within the brain, amyloid-beta is one of the most common waste products of neural activity. Throughout the course of the day, amyloid-beta builds up, and the glymphatic system is unable to remove it all at a consistent pace. This compound has been directly linked to Alzheimer’s and deterioration of the blood-brain barrier. Some additional health problems include the following:
- Hampered productivity and performance
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Increased signs of aging
- Decreased libido
- Drowsiness and falling asleep against your will
Adults typically require approximately eight hours. However, teens tend to require eight to 10 hours per night. Children tend to require about 10 hours of sleep. Children produce the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, earlier in the evening around 8:00 PM, but teenagers may not begin producing melatonin until around 10:30 PM. This explains why teenagers may stay up later at night and feel tired when awaking early in the morning.
6 Tips For Improving Quality of Sleep
- Since melatonin production relies on the slowly-receding of daylight to begin, a person can foster healthy sleep practices by minimizing exposure to light. For example, draw the curtains in the evening if outdoor lights are turned on.
- Maintain treatment of any mental health conditions known to cause insomnia.
- Avoid drugs, which include alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and illicit drugs, and electronic devices in the hours before going to bed.
- Shower in hot water at least any hour before bed, and keep the room’s temperature below 70 F.
- Avoid eating for two to three hours before bed, especially foods known to cause heartburn or indigestion.
- Use “Blackout Curtains” if possible to make your bedroom as dark as possible. Even ambient light can disturb your patterns.
Out of all the possible daily activities, sleep is one of the biggest parts of your life. Sleep has some amazing benefits, but it can also cause some serious health problems. You need to know how long you should be sleeping and how you can help foster healthy sleeping habits.