We all know that sleep is important and have no doubt we have all experienced some element of sleep deprivation at one point or another, feeling the effects of extreme tiredness and the inability to function properly. But why is it so important? And what happens during our “sleep” time that makes it an essential part of living?
On average, humans spend up to one-third of their life time sleeping and making the most of the time you spend asleep will help make you feel truly rested, so make good sleep a priority in your daily routine – not just something you do at the end of the day! By thinking about and potentially eliminating factors that affect the quality of sleep, you could greatly increase the effectiveness of your resting time.
The Science of Sleep
When you’re asleep, your body and brain don’t stop working. This time is used to recuperate from the day’s activities, repairing cells and resting muscles and processing information from the day, which makes it incredibly important for remaining healthy. Not getting enough sleep can make you more at risk to a number of health problems, such as weight gain, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, heart attacks and strokes. There are many doctors that specialise in remedying poor sleep, and sleep clinics are popping up all over the world in an effort to sort out sleep problems that could be affecting the health of many patients.
Too little sleep can be have adverse effects
A lack of sleep is more than just feeling tired; sustained periods of poor sleep will affect your overall productivity and brain functions from simple to more complex tasks. It can dangerously affect concentration levels, making you less able to focus on particular actions – think about the number of roadside signs you see encouraging you to take a break whilst driving. Operating heavy machinery or driving can be seriously affected by sleep deprivation, particularly when it is monotonous processes.
Sleep, or lack of, can also affect your cognitive functions for learning and thinking. It impairs your alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem solving ability, making it difficult to retain and process information effectively. This in turn makes you forgetful, less motivated and can result in irrational behaviour and impaired judgement.
Physical effects of sleep deprivation are also apparent with a feeling of sluggishness and a lack of energy, as well as increased hunger or appetite, which can result in weight gain and potentially obesity. Not getting a decent night’s sleep means that there is a decrease in the chemicals that control your appetite, making you feel hungrier more often.
Also, not enough sleep can age your skin prematurely. Puffy eyes, dark circles and sallow skin can become a permanent feature if you aren’t giving your body enough sleep, as this increases the levels of stress chemicals released and breaks down collagen present in the skin.
Other factors such as external lighting, caffeine, energy drinks and alarm clocks, can all affect our natural sleep cycle. Meaning that getting to sleep or actually having good, well-rested sleep is more problematic than people think.
Tips to improve your sleep at home
Take some time to consider how you can improve your sleep and the environment you sleep in too. Having a dark, comfortable and calm room to rest your weary bones, will mean you are more likely to get a good night’s sleep and help your body recover from the day. Also a good quality mattress, like those at Oz Mattress, will ensure your sleep isn’t being unnecessarily disturbed prominent springs in your side, or a bad back from a soft mattress.