The average person sleeps less than seven hours per night. In today’s fast-paced society, six or seven hours of sleep may sound pretty good. In reality, though, it’s a recipe for chronic sleep deprivation.
The problem is that most people can’t “catch up” on missed sleep. They may be able to get extra rest on the weekends, but then have trouble sleeping on Sunday night and feel tired again come Monday morning. And even if you can manage to get more sleep during the week, it’s not a long-term solution.
Over time, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. The sooner you start taking steps to get the sleep you need, the better off you’ll be!
Read on for tips on how to get more shut-eye and reap the benefits of better sleep tonight and every night — starting now!
Have a bedtime ritual: A relaxing bedtime ritual (like reading a book or taking a bath) will help you unwind in the evenings. Try to set aside at least 30 minutes before bedtime for this routine.
Get enough natural light during the day: Get exposure to bright light in the morning to help regulate your circadian rhythm (your body clock). Go outside or sit
The problem with trying to make yourself stupider is that you can’t tell when it’s working.
I’ve tried a lot of different things, but I think the most effective technique has been a combination of melatonin and valerian root. (Take 0.3 mg melatonin about an hour before bedtime, and then take 600-900 mg valerian root at bedtime.)
The valerian root itself doesn’t work for me, but it makes me sleepy enough that I can fall asleep despite the melatonin, which otherwise makes me wide awake. Too much valerian root doesn’t work either; it just causes weird dreams and morning hangover.
The beauty of a good night’s sleep is undeniable. It’s been shown to improve everything from your looks to your sex life.
Why, you ask? For starters, sleep helps you look better. We’ve all heard the saying “beauty sleep,” but there’s actually some science behind it.
Sleeping a full seven to nine hours per night will help keep your skin looking its best. Studies have shown that when you are sleep-deprived, cortisol levels increase and cause breakouts and puffiness in the face.
Proper rest can also help keep you slim. When you’re not getting enough shut-eye, you’re less likely to make healthy food choices, since lack of sleep suppresses the hormone leptin and increases ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry.
Proper sleep has also been shown to boost athletic performance, enhance your concentration and improve your memory. It can even help ward off the common cold.
If you want better performance at work or in the gym, get more sleep!
Getting enough sleep can make all the difference in how you feel. Sleep affects your mood, your energy levels, and even your weight.
A lack of sleep can leave you feeling sluggish and unable to concentrate the next day. And if you’re not getting high-quality sleep, it can take a toll on your health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. Lack of sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions — such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression — that threaten our nation’s health.
These CDC infographics show the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.
What is a good night’s sleep?**
Sleep is vital for good health. It helps us to recharge our bodies and minds so that we can function properly during the day. The quality and amount of rest we get each night helps determine if we are going to have enough energy to get through the day, or if we will be tired, irritable and unable to focus on our tasks.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), getting enough high-quality sleep at the right times can help protect
It’s a simple fact of biology that sleep is essential for health and well-being, but sleep is also one of the most vulnerable and difficult parts of our lives to manage.
Sleep emerges from the interaction of two systems: circadian rhythms (your “body clock”) and homeostatic sleep drive (the need for sleep as you’ve been awake longer).
Circadian rhythms are like a field in your brain that allows different cells to coordinate with each other. Every cell has its own local clock, but the phase of this clock is set by signals from another group of cells somewhere else in the brain. The light/dark cycle is the master synchronizer: when it’s dark, your eyes see it and send a signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which relays timing information to other brain regions via a variety of means, including the hormone melatonin. As your body clock approaches alignment with the alternating light and dark cycle, you begin to feel tired.
Homeostatic sleep drive accumulates throughout your waking hours in an inverse relationship to prior sleep: after waking up, your need for sleep is low; after being awake all day, your need for sleep is high. This system isn’t fully understood yet, but adenosine appears
Sleep is a dynamic process. During the night, we cycle through different stages of sleep roughly every 90 minutes. A typical night consists of about five full cycles, beginning in stage 1 and ending in REM sleep. As we progress through these cycles, our brain waves become slower and “sleep spindles” appear. These bursts of activity occur when neurons in the thalamus—a sleep-promoting center in the brain—fire rapidly for a brief period, disturbing our sleep and keeping us from entering deep slow-wave sleep. Sleep spindles help to protect deep sleep from external disturbances, such as loud noises or bright lights.
Sleep spindles are important indicators of healthy sleep and have been shown to decrease with age and with certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and traumatic brain injuries. Scientists have also found that people with higher intelligence tend to have more frequent and longer sleep spindles than others.
Because of their strong association with memory-related processes, scientists are exploring whether increasing the number or length of sleep spindles could improve our ability to learn new information and retain it later on. So far, evidence suggests that this may be true.
A group of neuroscientists recently discovered that playing the sound of a person’s own voice
Why do we sleep? The main theory is that sleep serves to restore the brain. But why doesn’t the brain simply repair itself while we’re awake? That’s how our muscles get stronger, after all.
The answer may relate to a concept called synaptic homeostasis. The brain has a limited capacity for processing information. If you spend the whole day learning to juggle or memorizing people’s names, by evening your brain will be full and you’ll have trouble taking in any more information.
In order to make room for new memories and make learning possible, it seems that the brain discards some of its old memories while we sleep. In effect, this restores the brain’s short-term memory capacity: it makes room for new information. That could explain why sleep deprivation impairs learning ability.
Why does the brain do this? Well, there are only so many hours in a day when you can learn stuff. If your brain were full all the time, you’d be stuck with what you already knew. It would be impossible ever to improve your knowledge or skills–or even to remember where you left your keys.
So although scientists aren’t sure why we sleep, they think it has something to do with restoring the brain’s short-term memory