How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is vital for proper physical and mental functioning of all human beings. There are many factors that contribute to healthy sleep at night. Knowing what should be done and what should be avoided to attain good sleep is most pertinent here.

Here are some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.

1. Form a schedule- Maintaining a similar schedule every day for sleep and wake-up time, helps in regulating your daily clock, apart from allowing you to fall and stay asleep for good hours.

2. Avoid naps- If you often face difficulty in falling asleep at night, it is a good option to quit your afternoon naps, if you take any.

3. Relax before bedtime- Relaxing exercises like mediation can help you fall asleep. Make sure you do these exercises away from bright light, and avoid activities that cause stress or anxiety.

4. Daily exercise- Mild to moderate exercise also helps in regulating your sleep.

5. Create a comfortable environment- A room with slightly lower temperature makes you fall asleep faster.

6. Change your mattress- A bad quality mattress or pillows not only keep you from falling asleep, but also cause problems like body aches or neck sprains. Too old mattresses are worn out and can cause these issues. It is wise to invest in good quality pillows and mattresses.

7. Avoid bright light before bed- Humans are more used to feel sleepy with the decrease in brightness. Try to expose your body to bright sunlight during day time, and avoid too many lights after dusk. This helps the body clock to be under check and regulate it to get a proper night’s sleep.

8. Avoid alcohol or smoking- Alcohol consumption or smoking at the hours close to bed time can disrupt your sleep as these substances have caffeine. That is why it is also advised to avoid drinking coffee at night.

9. Be more active- It is advised to indulge in some mild activity, if you feel difficult to fall asleep. You can switch the room where you sleep and do some activity like reading a book or painting till you feel tired enough to sleep.

10. Say no to gadgets- The body requires some time to shift from the active mode into sleep mode. Therefore, to help the body in this switch - avoid using gadgets which emit bright lights and high intensity activities, before bedtime. This way your body will prepare itself to fall asleep sooner.

All these tips work well in moderating your sleep schedule to keep your physical and mental health in the good form. Sleep good, stay good.

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Sleep Revitalizes your Mind, Body, & Heart

The body goes under many transformations, while it is in the state of rest during sleep. There are many essential functions that take place in the body such as tissue repair, memory and energy restoration, release of essential hormones, muscle relaxation, and others. While you are asleep, the brain releases indispensable hormones that promote tissue growth. This process helps your body rejuvenate from the daily hustle bustle. Moreover, tissue growth aids in the recovery from wounds or cuts. Sunita Kumar, Co-Director, Centre for Sleep Disorders, Loyola University Medical Centre, aptly remarks that during sleep the body produces more white blood cells, to fight countless bacteria and viruses1. The heart rate also registers a dip during sleep, which according to Ms. Kumar, strengthens the heart as it is at rest with lowered activity. Moreover, a good night’s sleep also reduces the chances of getting afflicted with heart diseases.

Good Sleep = Sharp Memory

Sleep is a time, when becomes sharp and strong. Sleep quantity and quality play a fundamental role in determining what one remembers and what one doesnt. Therefore, development of long-term memory (LTM) from short-term memory (STM) happens during sleep.  Scientific researches state that the brain follows a different mechanism for storing memories through the hippocampus and neo-cortex areas. Hippocampus helps you to remember your life experiences (childhood memories), while the neo-cortex is responsible for remembering the concepts you learn (name of a color). Communications and sync between the two, helps in learning new data and updating old ones.

Sleep Steers Hormonal Hunger

Sleep not only affects your energy levels and mental functions, but also regulates your body weight. Improper sleep is related to the increasing cases of obesity, worldwide2. Many hormones which regulate the feeling of hunger (ghrelin) and signal the feeling of being full (leptin), are all influenced by the quality of your sleep.  Leptin: This is also known as satiety hormone, which is produced by the fat cells of the body. It prevents overeating by sending signals to the brain that the body does not require more food, as there is enough to fuel the body.  Ghrelin: This hunger hormone is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which signifies the body that there is need for food. This hormone rises in the body, when you feel hungry and decreases when you have consumed some food.  Studies show that people who have disrupted patterns of sleep - have larger appetite, because of higher ghrelin secretion and lowered secretion of leptin. This imbalance in the secretion of these hormones is a result of improper sleep patterns3.

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Reference

1

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/discomfort-15/better-sleep/healing-power-sleep?page=2

2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619301/

3

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619301/