Sleep Is Not Just For The Weak
Get deep sleep without counting sheep. Here are ways on how you can do that!
Did you get at least 7 hours of sleep yesterday? If you did, pat yourself in the back. If you didn’t then here are all the reasons why you should.
Sleep is crucial to our physical health, mental and emotional well-being. There’s nothing quite like a good night's rest and waking up fresh and recharged ready for a brand new day.
Sleep experts recommend getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to support our body’s optimum functioning daily. Despite that, Malaysians on average get 6 hours and 18 minutes’ worth of sleep per night, according to a 2018 national sleep survey done by Nielson Malaysia.
There are many reasons why we are not getting sufficient sleep and that could be mainly due to the unhealthy habits that we develop before sleep. Read to find out the effects of sleep deprivation and tips on how to get that restful sleep you deserve!
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Having sufficient sleep is important for our cognitive function. The lack of sleep contributes to reduced attention span, alertness, concentration, judgement and problem-solving. This will in turn negatively impact school and work performance.
Research has shown that lack of sleep causes feelings of hunger and stimulates cravings for fatty comfort food. It reduces leptin – a hormone that suppresses appetite and encourages the body to expend energy while elevating ghrelin – a hormone that stimulates hunger. Staying up late could also mean consumption of more calories at night, leading to weight gain.
Do you notice that your skin looks tired and dull after consecutive nights of not having quality beauty sleep? Sleep loss causes the body to under-produce the human growth hormone (HGH), which helps to repair and refresh skin cells, muscles and bones. Sleep deprivation also interferes with collagen production and possibly speeds up the process of aging skin with the appearance of dark circles and fine lines.
May Lead to Danger
Lethargy and sleepiness in the day can slow down your time reaction. This poses a significant risk when you are working or driving on the road. Furthermore, sleep experts also revealed that sleep deprivation can increase the risks of developing metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders.
A person may be more irritable, moody, and short-tempered due to sleep deprivation. You may find yourself having poorer control in managing stress which eventually leads you to a few mood swing episodes. 26% of Malaysians reported that mood swings are one of the top 5 consequences due to lack of quality sleep.
6 Tips for A Quality Rest at Night
Relax Before Bedtime
Try and schedule a time to sleep daily, declutter your mind by settling work or other stressful tasks early, and start winding down at night before bed. You could find relaxing and simple bedtime routines, such as reading a book or listening to soothing music to help unwind. The use of aromatherapy can also help with relaxation.
Limit Activities in Bed
If possible, tune out any electronic devices including your smartphone before you get into bed. The blue light emitted from these electronic devices interferes with how fast you can fall asleep and negatively affects the quality of your sleep too. It is recommended to limit the use of electronic devices 1 to 2 hours before bedtime.
Keep Your Sleep Area Conducive
Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and well-ventilated at night. The recommended ideal temperature for sleeping is about 22 degrees celsius, but it also depends on personal preferences on how cool you want your room to be. If you’re sleeping with a partner who snores, try using earplugs, or sleep in different rooms.
Eat Properly and Avoid Stimulants
Other than eating healthily, avoid going to bed hungry or too full. Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes can also hinder sleep quality at night. If you often find yourself waking up in the middle of the night to urinate, avoid drinking too much water before your bedtime.
Exercise During the Day
Exercise outdoor during the day helps release endorphins that benefit you into feeling good and focusing better. It also helps to regulate energy and set your circadian rhythms, so you tend to fall asleep easier at night. Ever noticed how children seem to sleep more soundly after swimming or a good length play session?
If possible, avoid exercising at least 90 minutes before bedtime as this allows time for the endorphin levels and body temperature to return to the level that is favourable to sleep.
Sleep Help with Supplements
You may opt for sleep supplements to improve sleep quality. For example, minerals such as magnesium can calm down nerves and muscles or L-theanine, an amino acid to relieve physical tiredness from stressful days and get to sleep more easily. Natural ingredients such as passionflower, lemon balm, valerian root, and chamomile flowers are traditional sleep remedies used for centuries around the world.