Do you find yourself struggling to get enough sleep at night? Is it difficult to get moving in the morning? Without it our bodies are not given the opportunity to recharge and reset, making the next day more of a challenge.
Humans spend about a third of their lives sleeping. During the different stages of sleep, the body heals itself. Stages 1 and 2 allow our bodies to relax and slow down. In stages 3 and 4, blood pressure drops, breathing slows, muscles are relaxed, energy is restored, and tissue growth and repair occurs. During the deepest sleep (REM sleep), the body is totally relaxed, but the brain is active, causing dreams. This stage provides energy to the body and brain in preparation for the day ahead (National Sleep Foundation).
Sleep is essential for our health and well-being, just as much as healthy diet and exercise. Both quantity and quality of sleep are important for body function. If you are having difficulty falling asleep or trouble staying asleep, it may negatively affect your judgment and productivity. If you are experiencing snoring, pausing in breathing, or gasping while sleeping, consult with your doctor. Identifying and treating the cause of sleep disturbances can help get you on the path to a good night’s sleep!
Did You Know?
- Melatonin, a natural sleep hormone, can be found naturally in a variety of foods, such as tomatoes, grape skins, cherries and walnuts.
- The ideal time it takes to fall asleep is between 10-15 minutes, anything less may be a sign of sleep deprivation.
- One complete sleep cycle is 90 minutes.
- At least 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders (NIH).
Tips for Increased Sleep
- Journal – get your thoughts out of your head and on paper.
- Establish a bedtime routine – regulate your body’s clock.
- Drink herbal teas – try chamomile, lavender, or peppermint!
- Exercise regularly – morning or early afternoon workouts improve sleep.
- Keep the bedroom slightly cool – between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Read more tips from the National Sleep Foundation.
Sources: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, National Sleep Foundation, LifeWork Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.