All About Sleep
Let’s face it: without a good night’s sleep, we’re nothing.
Zero. Zilch. Zed.
It’s true: a good night’s sleep is arguably one of the top three things we all should make sure we get each day. (Good food and about 30 minutes of moderate exercise are the other two.)
A restful night’s sleep can:
- Keep your mind sharp, especially as you age.
- Strengthen your heart.
- Put you in a better mood.
- Help prevent weight gain.
- Boost your immune system.
- Make you feel great all day.
A bad night’s sleep can:
- Make you feel exhausted the next day.
- Impair your memory. (In fact, less than 6 hours of sound sleep at night when in middle age is now linked to dementia when older.)
- Make you moody and irritable and therefore likely to have more conflicts with others.
- Decrease alertness. (Even just missing as little as 90 minutes of sleep can affect how you feel.)
- Increase drowsiness during the day, which makes you more susceptible to car accidents.
- Cause weight gain: lack of sleep destabilizes the “I’m full” chemicals in your body, causing you to potentially eat more, even though you’ve already eaten enough.
- Lead to higher blood pressure and more inflammatory chemicals in your body, which contributes to heart disease.
How much sleep is enough?
If you think six solid hours of sleep is enough, you’re mistaken.
Because we need five sessions of REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement sleep, the time we dream) for optimal health, we need seven-nine hours of continuous sleep.
Studies have proven we need REM sleep/to dream, and REM takes us about 90 minutes to complete. (Ninety minutes by five sessions equals 7.5 hours and, depending on how much time each of us spends between REM sessions, we may need more time asleep, as in 8-9 hours.)
That means that even if you sleep through six hours, you haven’t had enough REM sleep, and that could equal trouble for your overall well-being and health.
REM sleep is essential because it happens when your brain exercises neural connections, which are critical to your mental and physical health. How critical? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke conducted a study that deprived rats of REM sleep, which shortened their life span significantly: from two or three years to just five weeks!
How to get those 7-9 hours of restful sleep
- The. Phone. DOWN!
You’ve no doubt heard that looking at your smartphone, tablet or laptop just before sleep keeps you awake. Here’s why:
The blue light emitted by the phone restrains your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that controls your body’s sleep-wake cycle, making it even more challenging to fall asleep.
And looking at the phone just one night can adversely affect your chances of falling asleep the next night. What’s more, additional studies have shown that blue light can damage your retinas.
Experts recommend putting the phone down (and for best results, across the room) at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
Additional sleep tips:
- Get regular exercise but aim to do so no more than a few hours before bed. Otherwise, the workout could lead to interrupted sleep.
- Get more sun. Doing so can help with your circadian rhythm, which affects your sleep-wake cycle.
- Do not take long naps, especially late in the afternoon. Short naps (15-20 minutes) around mid-day provide you both rest and an energized afternoon while not affecting your wake-sleep cycle.
- Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends and other days off.
- Don’t drink caffeine after 2 PM. each day. (The caffeine can affect your body for several hours, including up to 9 or even 10 PM.)
- Alcohol and even nicotine at night can also affect your sleep.
- Aim to relax/wind down about 30-45 minutes before bed. Listen to soft music or even take a warm bath.
- Turn the lights down before bedtime to help your brain “get the message” that it’s time for sleep.
- It is ok to read a book in bed, so long as it’s an actual book or on a non-blue-light tablet.
- If you can’t fall asleep, get up and move to another room, listen to music and/or read a book. When you feel sleepy, head back to bed.
A good night’s sleep can do wonders for stress…
…but if a bad job is causing you stress, consider registering with Hire Dynamics so that we can help you find a great position in logistics/e-commerce, manufacturing, office/administrative and contact centers. Take a look at our current openings and if one or more appeal to you, apply!