To some, sleep might seem like an unnecessary action that just takes away from the time you have to get everything done in one day. It might seem that you can get by with just a few hours of sleep and be all right, that you can skip on sleep and be OK. More and more research is telling us that this is not the case though. Insufficient sleep seems to be connected to a host of problems in the body as well as mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
There are a few processes that occur in your body while your body is sleeping and most of them have to happen on a regular basis for your body to function properly. First, a proper amount of sleep is needed to maintain the metabolic homeostasis in the brain – this means that the cells in our brains need rest and to have a period of time without mitochondrial stress for them to recharge. Second, sleep is also needed for biological homeostasis; the circadian rhythm is responsible for this homeostasis and it regulates a number of biological clocks that are all connected to the ‘brain’s clock.’ Third, sleep is needed for our brains to form connections between previous memories and the ones we formed that day as well as helping to establish timelines and future possible scenarios. Some research speculates that processing information in our sleep is responsible for an increase in insight by as much as 250 percent.
Individuals without enough sleep, or even enough deep sleep, can show signs of sleep deprivation and have symptoms that will interfere with their everyday lives. Sleep deprived people can have impaired memory and ability to learn new things, reduced productivity at work or school, reduced athletic performance, and reduced creativity with tasks. Other symptoms can include slowed reaction times, increased risk of neurological problems, including depression and dementia, increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and decreased function of the immune system. There is also an increase risk of almost any kind of disease including cardiovascular disease, cancers, obesity, osteoporosis, and stomach ulcers – among others.
Now that you know how important sleep is for your everyday life and how it can stabilize your waking moments and improve them, there still might be something you need to do to get a proper amount of sleep. Recent estimates suggest that 1 in 3 Americans are not getting enough sleep and that almost 83% are sleep -deprived. Read on for some ways that you can get rid of insomnia or improve the quality of your sleep to help your body function at one hundred percent.
1. Sleep The Right Way
Stomach and side sleepers listen up – the way you’re sleeping might actually be causing you to not get the proper amount of sleep or not enough relaxing sleep for your body. Many people complain about cramps in their bodies upon waking up and most of those have to do with the position that they sleep in. Experts seem to all agree that the best way to sleep is on your back, the neutral position for your body. Another tip to sleeping well on your back is to position the pillow underneath your neck instead of your head, as most do. Sleeping on an incline might also be beneficial to the body, with research suggesting that it might help improve blood circulation, boost metabolism, and even improve the immune system.
Continue to Page 2