When you are a parent, getting a good night’s sleep can be hard to come by but there are many people who take it for granted. While mothers who are sitting up at night with their crying babies just missing the days when they could sleep through the night again, there are others who stay up all night, you know the night owls. Now, I don’t need to explain to you why it is important to get a good night’s sleep. I am sure you are aware of the consequences if you don’t, right?
Or are you like many of us who are destroying our health by allowing ourselves to only get the minimal amount of sleep just to get through the next day, unaware of what you are putting yourselves at risk by doing so? Then maybe we shall continue on!
Why Is It Important to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential to helping the body and the mind operate. Many people often take the importance of a good night’s sleep for granted. However, experts warn it is important to understand the benefits of getting enough sleep. Here Are a few reasons why you need Sound Sleep at Night.
Sleep is also important because it is during your sleep that your body is able to rejuvenate itself. This allows your body to repair itself allowing you to be better ready to face the next day both physically and mentally.
Getting enough sleep may also prevent things such as weight gain, heart disease, and the duration of some illnesses. Research shows a connection between poor health and poor sleep habits and heart issues. Also, those who have trouble sleeping at night have higher cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Specialists say if you’re not getting sufficient sleep during the night, your waistline increases. Additionally, too little sleep activates diabetes mellitus risk in people. Individuals with a healthful sleep cycle have a tendency to exercise every day.
At the same time, exercise and a healthy diet reduce stress levels within the body. Research shows people who go to bed early eat less sugary foods and fat. On the flip side, night owls have a poorer diet plus they consume more calories than required.
I can witness to this! The later I stay up the hungrier I tend to get, so going to bed at an adequate time at night is better for your waistline, hehe 🙂
Why do people have trouble sleeping?
There are many different medical conditions that can lead to sleep problems, some may be mild and others may be more serious. However, in some cases, insomnia may be caused by the discomfort caused by those conditions.
Examples of medical conditions that can cause insomnia are:
- Nasal/sinus allergies
- Gastrointestinal problems such as reflux
- Endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic pain
- Low back pain
Sometimes insomnia may be caused by certain medications, such as ones taken for hypertension, the common cold/flu, heart disease, birth control, depression, epilepsy, or some other conditions.
Also, insomnia can be caused by underlying symptoms by what is known as a sleep disorder (such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome). Sleep apnea (this is where a person’s airway becomes partially or completely obstructed which results in a drop in oxygen levels) causes your sleep cycle to be interrupted repeatedly throughout the night as you are forced to wake up briefly.
Stress can also cause a person to have insomnia because you may have trouble shutting down your mind thinking about all the things troubling you, like your work, health, finances, family, and more.
A few other things that could be causing your insomnia include
- your lifestyle
- eating too much late
- poor sleep habits
Tips to Get a Good Nights Sleep
Make a Routine – Keeping a regular sleep schedule (even on weekends) is important for your body’s own internal clock and allows you to fall asleep more easily by allowing your body to find it’s own natural rhythm.
Ditch the Caffeine -Drinking caffeine too close to bedtime can reduce your body’s ability to stay in deep sleep. One study showed that drinking caffeine 6 hours before bed can reduce your total sleep time by one hour and these effects were stronger in adults.
So it is best to only consume caffeinated beverages including caffeinated tea during the daytime hours.
Avoid Nicotine – Nicotine is a stimulant and therefore can disrupt your sleep but it also can mask the fact that you are exhausted. It also puts you at risk for developing sleep conditions such as sleep apnea.
On the other hand, if you have recently quit smoking, the first few days will cause side effects such as anxiety, headaches, diarrhea, and constipation. You may experience cravings, irritability, and sleepless nights.
Get Comfy – Being comfortable is important because it will help you not only fall asleep faster but stay asleep longer. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, good pillow, cool bedding, and a dark and quiet environment, and your room is a comfortable temperature.
Exercise – Making exercise a part of your regular routine is not only essential to your overall health but it is important to the quality of your sleep. There is substantial evidence that exercise may improve insomnia when done regularly.
Physical activity can improve your quality of sleep by
- increasing the time spent in deep sleep
- increasing the duration of your sleep
- reducing stress and anxiety
- reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea and other sleep conditions
Take a bath A study showed that taking a bath 90 minutes before going to bed could actually help you fall asleep faster. No wonder I feel nice and cozy after a nice warm bath.
For an added benefit, try adding a few drops of some lavender essential oils to your bath that will really relax you.
No late-night snacks – There has been a lot of attention given as to whether consuming snacks before bed could actually impact the quality of sleep. Studies have shown that limiting nighttime snacking is not only a good strategy for weight loss it is actually effective for getting a good night’s sleep.
Although our bodies do digest while we sleep, going to bed right after eating is not a smart idea. I know this all too well because I have what is known as acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).
GERD is a digestive disorder where the ring of muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus remains open allowing contents of the stomach and digestive juices to flow back up into the esophagus. It affects many people, including pregnant women, and it causes heartburn or acid indigestion.
Heartburn and indigestion can make it difficult to fall asleep and prevent you from falling into a deep and restful sleep. So it is best to avoid foods high in fats, salt, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol before bed and you should not go to bed within 3 hours of your last large meal.
Try adding some of these foods to help you sleep.
Disconnect – Most of us like to lie in bed and watch a good movie or read a nice book on our tablet to help us fall asleep but did you know that that device may actually be working as a stimulant?
Electronic devices actually delay your body’s internal clock which naturally releases the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin that tells your brain it is time for bed. This in turn will make it more difficult to fall asleep.
This is due to the blue light that is being emitted from our devices. So the more devices you use closer to bedtime the harder it will be for you to fall asleep.
Fix: Two hours, one hour, or even 30 minutes before bed, disconnect from your devices. Try doing something relaxing instead like read a good old fashion book. Or sit around as a family and tell a story or play a board game. Also, most devices have a nightlight setting, I suggest setting those up as well.
How Much Sleep Do You Need
The amount of sleep one needs varies from person to person and from age to age. Children need more sleep than adults and as you get older you tend to need less.
According to the CDC, the following are the recommended amounts according to age:
- Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours
- Infants (4–12 months): 12–16 hours
- Toddler (1–2 years): 11–14 hours
- Preschool (3–5 years): 10–13 hours
- School-age (6–12 years): 9–12 hours
- Teen (13–18 years): 8–10 hours
- Adult (18–60 years): 7-plus hours
- Adult (61–64 years): 7–9 hours
- Adult (65+ years): 7–8 hours
When to see a doctor
If insomnia makes it hard for you to function during the day, see your doctor to help you identify the cause of your sleep problem and how it can be treated. If your doctor thinks you could have a sleep disorder, you might be referred to a sleep center for special testing.
To live a life that is healthful, individuals need at least 6 hours of sleep. On the flip side, people who do not get any less than 6 hours of sleep certain health problems in their lives
Last Things to Know About the Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep while it is a very important component of our lives we often take it for granted. However, it is vital to the functioning of our bodies and our minds.
So it is important to make every effort to improve your quality of sleep. If you are finding it difficult to sleep and everything you have tried doesn’t seem to be working, then you may want to think about speaking with your doctor.
No need to take for granted getting sleep anymore!
Do you feel like you take for granted the importance of a good night’s sleep? What tip do you use to help you fall asleep at night?