Healthy sleep is crucial for our health – it is very important time for body recovery, during sleep several important processing, restoration and strengthening occur. Human body needs certain period of sleep for optimal health and well being. According to health experts, sleep mistakes can be harmful for your physical and mental health by triggering overweight, additional stress, diseases and disturbing daily routine. Some people have sleep mistakes for years and even for decades. According to scientists healthy sleep is important for better concentration and memory, for creativity and for stronger immune system. Generally speaking, sleep is essential if we want to be full of energy and productive in life.
It is important to identify bad sleeping habits in time and eliminate all sleep mistakes because over time mistakes could harm our health.
Sleep mistakes – consequences
It is very important to keep consistent sleeping schedule because body clock’s ability to regulate healthy sleep depends on consistency. Disturbed sleeping schedule may disrupt body rhythms and cause sleeping dysfunctions. Healthy sleeping regular routine means going to bed at roughly the same time each night and getting up at roughly the same time each morning. Keeping healthy sleeping timing we help the brain to control body functions and hormones production. Disorganized sleeping schedule leads to interrupted sleeping rhythms and damaged body clock.
If you cannot fall asleep during 20-40 minutes, it means you missed the open “sleep gate” or missed catching the sleep wave. Fixed sleeping schedule reinforces the consistent sleep rhythm and reminds the brain about opening the “sleep gate” at right time. If you cannot fall asleep during 20-25 minutes, get out of bed and do something that occupies your brain.
Human body depends on so called “sleep signals” which include darkness, quietness and comfort for sleep. Light in bedroom can disrupt pineal gland’s production of sleep hormones and therefore disturb sleep rhythms. Noise in bedroom will never let you to have healthy sleep. Sleep hygiene required quiet, comfortable, dark and cool bedroom.
Always choose very comfortable bed, mattress and best sleep pillows. Remove all noisy items from your bedroom (TV, computer, clock, etc.). It is recommended to keep next to your bed some sleep accessories (sleep mask, ear plugs, etc.) – so you can use it if needed (in case of partner’s snoring, unexpected street light or noises, etc.). Set your bedroom thermostat at a comfortable temperature – keep your bedroom cool (a little cooler is better than a little warmer). Keep your pets outside the bedroom.
Long naps during daytime can damage healthy sleep rhythm. If you need a nap desperately, then better keep it short (no longer than 30 minutes) and have it not too late (before 4pm). According to health experts, short naps after lunch can help to restore energy levels. In some countries the short siesta for half an hour after lunch is considered as “healthy habit”. At the same time, it is well known that if you nap for too long before your normal bed time, you won’t feel tired again until very late into the night.
After hectic working day body is not ready to sleep without any preparation which called “sleeping ritual”. Body needs some time to produce enough sleep neurotransmitters to send feedback signals to the brain sleep center, which will result in the release of sleep hormones. What can be included in “sleeping ritual”? Actually it is just very simple preparation to go to bed – bedtime hygiene, turned off equipments (TV, computer, mobile) and lights, calming habits (warm bath, quite music, meditation, reading). Human body depends on signals when to fall asleep and the most fundamental one is darkness. If you cannot insure full darkness, better use sleeping mask.
Bed time foods and drinks
Sleep cycles can be disturbed by bedtime foods and drinks which are metabolic disruptors which raise blood sugar and overstress the organs involved in hormone regulation (especially sleep hormones). Snacks before bedtime is a bad idea (especially sugary snacks). Sugar can disrupt body chemicals causing interrupted sleep (waking up during the night). If you have to eat, better take high-protein snack.
Similar situation is with caffeine and energy drinks – they stimulate body for up to 12 hours after consumption. So it is important to restrict use of stimulants-drinks intake in the evening.
Stress and sleep
Stress and negative thinking will not let us to sleep. At least it is very difficult to fall sleep if you are stressed because stress produces chemicals that physically stop us from sleeping. Even over-thinking (planning, scheduling, trying to find solutions) can disturb your sleep cycles. Better try some before bed meditation or sleeping tea.
Sleeping pills usually mask sleep problems and cannot eliminate underlying causes. According to health experts, sleeping pills are highly addictive and potentially dangerous. For short time sleeping pills can be helpful, but over time, sleeping pills can actually make insomnia worse. Better discover main cause of your sleeping problems – darkness, stress, comfort, over-thinking, wrong sleeping schedule, food addiction, etc.
Sleep and alcohol
Alcohol has sedative effect and some people use alcohol for promoting sleep. But it should be highlighted that alcohol provides initial sleep inducing effect after getting broken by body which means alcohol can support sleep only after few hours after consumption (during second half of the night) leading to a reduction in overall sleep duration and triggering interrupted sleep. Actually habitual alcohol consumption before bedtime can reduce its sleep-inducing effect, while its disruptive effects continue or even increase.
TV – mobile – sleep
It was noted that when we fall asleep in bed watching TV, we invariably wake up later on. TV can severely disrupt sleep patterns and hinder the quality of sleep.
Some people have habits to chat in bed and mobiles release light in bedroom. What are consequences? Actually, the melatonin (sleep hormone) gets released when it is dark and if you use mobile or tablet in bed, the brain is fooled into thinking the bright light means it is daytime and brain stops melatonin production, keeping mobile-user wide awake.
Healthy sleeping is crucial for body functioning, mind, mood and general health. Every adult should sleep about 7-8 hours during night (deep and not interrupted). Unfortunately many people have sleeping…
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.