Quality sleep is very important for brain function, as it is just more than a mental vacation. Scientists know that our sleep consists of stages of unconsciousness which our brain go through, as well as a series of psychological processes that restore both mind and body.
At stages 3 and 4 for example, memories may be consolidated, while in dream sleep, the brain may be working on the resolutions to unconscious conflicts. However, if any factor like alcohol, a noisy issue, uncomfortable bedroom/mattress, stress carried over from the day or drug intrudes, we upset the progressive stages of normal sleep, our body and especially brain misses the regeneration.
The disturbance might even or likely to make itself felt in our next day activities, especially if mental clarity is necessary for getting the job done. Hence corporate management knows the effect of insomnia on employees’ performance.
Sleep Researcher, Wilse Webb of the University of Florida explained that sleep loss leads to errors because the heavy-eyed person simply does not care to attend to the problems at hand, and not because of actual loss of brainpower. He concluded that interesting tasks will continue to be performed quite well, while repetitive tasks are apt to suffer.
Ways To Improve The Chance Of Quality Sleep
Maintain A Journal — to monitor your sleep pattern (wake up time and sleep time), vis a vis the day’s activities, such as meal times, naps, physical exercise. This is to be able to get how day time events are influencing your sleep.
Maintain A Regular Bedtime — Charles A. Czeisler of Harvard Medical School Sleep Disorders Research Center, said,
‘’People just don’t realize how important regularity in their sleeping habit is.’’
He discovered that hampsters and blowflies whose schedule is shifted by six hours every week in experiments have a 25% shorter life span. And concluded that babies and adults are able to fall asleep easily when provided with the familiar cues of the same bedtime and the same sleeping space.
During The Day — Realise your sleep nature. Some people thrive on naps, using them to compensate for hours of lost sleep at night. But others, an afternoon snooze may sabotage nighttime sleep.
Regular exercise can set you up for a good night sleep, and may even reduce the amount of sleep you need, says Allan Ryan, editor in chief of the Physician and Sports Medicine.
Release Emotional Stress — take time to release emotional stress during the day, whether through mental discipline, (meditation, playing a musical instrument, or reading), or through a physical outlet (jogging, tennis, yoga, or a walk).
In The Evening — Reduce your coffee intake, take only water.
Reduce nicotine, because nicotine is a powerful heart stimulant.
Reduce or eliminate alcohol as well. Alcohol may seem calming but it will upset the rhythmic sleep patterns vital to a good night’s rest. What’s more, alcohol may give you wake up calls in the middle of the night with a full bladder.
Vigorous exercise is not appropriate just before bed, as it leaves the body’s systems in a charged-up state for several hours.
Starchy or sweet foods enable the brain to produce more of a natural sedative, serotonin. Snack on fruits, crisps, grain-based foods or cereal.
In The Bedroom — If you have a bedtime routine, stick to it, otherwise, your sleep may suffer if disrupted. So be aware of seemingly insignificant habits as brushing your hair or reading a few pages before turning out the light.
Ensure your bed is only for sleep, and of course, love-making if applicable. Don’t make your bed a home office where laptop and books are all littered about.
Good passionate lovemaking is another good sleep aid.
Reduce the noise level of TV or music if you have one in the bedroom.
Better to put out lights, or if you must sleep with light, then, a dim light is better.
Sleep Patterns And The Body Temperature
Charles A Czeisler conducted an experiment in which he discovered that sleep patterns are tied to cyclic ups and downs of the body temperature, and we sleep best when our body temperature is at its 24-hour low.
How Much Sleep Is Best — will depend on sleep quality, and from person to person. Dr Webb said most of us need between 6 to 9 hours each night, although there are few who get by with considerably less. Thomas Edison was said to be a four-hour sleep man.
Our sleep requirements do not remain constant throughout our entire life. Newborns sleep some 18 hours a day, while older adults need an average of 6 hours.
It is possible for people to adapt permanently to less sleep if need be if subjected to a period of sleep deprivation.
Lack of quality sleep may lead to delirium in adult, especially with those with an underlying critical illness.
Quality sleep is as vital as a balanced diet for optimal well being.
Quality sleep boost a person’s immunity in the long run.