We all love to go on vacations and breaks from our tiring and monotonous lives. They freshen us up and give us the motivation to work productively and efficiently. Sleep is exactly like a mini-vacation for the mind to prepare the body for the next day. Although not realised by all, there is the paramount importance of sleep for health, which is why one should sincerely prioritise sleep. Sleeping provides one with a lot of health benefits in the short term as well as long term. In this article, you will find out how much sleep is required for the mind and the body to refresh and what happens if the requirement is not fulfilled.
What does it mean to “sleep properly”?
When it comes to reaping the benefits of proper sleep for health, one should try to stick to a natural sleeping-waking-up cycle (also known as the circadian rhythm). This is an internal clock where the mind guides the body towards the sleeping and waking up stages naturally to regulate the freshness and energy of the body. To follow the natural sleeping cycle, one should:
- Try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day
- Avoid oversleeping to compensate for late work hours, rather nap during the day
- Nap smartly – a nap should not last for more than 10-20 minutes as longer naps can you feel dazed
It is common to feel drowsy and tired when one starts correcting their sleep schedule. To avoid breaking and disrupting the schedule, one should:
- Get proper nourishment while having breakfast – a healthy breakfast can indicate to the body that this is the time to get going and hustle
- Fight drowsiness that occurs before bedtime – rather than giving into the tiredness and going to sleep before bed, push yourself to do some activity that does not require a lot of physical work but will keep you busy.
For how long should you sleep?
The importance of sleep for health is proportional to sleeping properly and adequately, but it is tough to point out how much sleep an individual needs. Every body is different and therefore the requirement for every individual also stands different. But a generalised sleep time recommended to individuals is categorised based on their ages. As recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the sleep duration for individuals are:
- Newborns (0-3 months) – 14-17 hours
- Infants (4-12 months) – 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years) – 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5 years) – 10-13 hours
- School children (6-13 years) – 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17 years) – 8-10 hours
- Adults (18-64 years) – 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+ years) – 7-8 hours
How can sleep repair the body?
The importance of sleep for health is that it reboots the body internally and prepares you for another day of work and tiredness. Getting enough and proper sleep will benefit you in the following ways:
- Strengthening the immune system – getting sick less often and helps in avoiding illnesses like diabetes, heart diseases, etc.
- Maintaining body weight – sleep deprivation disturbs the hormones in the brain that regulate hunger and can lower resistance to unhealthy foods, leading to weight gain
- Keeps stress and mood in check – avoid unnecessary mood swings
- Boosts productivity levels – performance of school children is improved and they’re able to pay better attention. For adults, their work performance improves and they can complete more quality work in less time
- improved and they’re able to pay better attention. For adults, their work performance improves and they can complete more quality work in less time
- Effective decision-making – performance in driving, working out, or any activity that involves the process of decision making will be enhanced and positively amplified
- Steady blood sugar levels – obtaining and maintaining a deep sleep for health can help in preventing type 2 diabetes
- Increased awareness and alertness for the next day – increases focus and the desire to socialise and enjoy the surroundings
- Improves memory – better memory consolidation (making better connections with feelings and memories)
- Maintaining physical balance – not getting an adequate amount of sleep impairs short-term body balance and may cause one to suffer from injuries
- Sleeping helps the body to repair itself – helps to rebuild the muscles that have been worn down throughout the whole day, helps in regeneration of cells
3 things you can do to get your sleep on track
Now you know the importance of sleep for health but still finding yourself in a crisis when it comes to falling asleep? Here are 3 effective things you can try that are sure to change the way you feel about falling asleep:
1. Building a serene sleeping environment
Eliminating all the noise, a temperature that stimulates the coolness of the body and the mind, having a comfortable mattress, and a bed that allows you to stretch and turn comfortably, are ways in which you can prepare a good environment to sleep in.
2. Trying breathing techniques to fall asleep
Even with a good environment, some people find it hard to fall asleep. Figuring out how to get deep sleep for health can be a tricky and difficult task to achieve. Trying out different methods that will help you fall asleep faster can aid in sleeping properly and help in sticking to the circadian rhythm of the body.
3. Tiring yourself by doing extra physical activity
Some people don’t engage in physical activities like walking or exercising in their daily life and therefore their body and mind aren’t tension-free for easily getting into the reboot mode. A regular exercise routine can help relieve all the built-up tension and calm the mind which will make falling asleep faster.
So, here we go, all that you had to learn about the importance of sleep for health. By understanding the duration, it becomes easier for a person to keep their health intact. Sleep for health is of utmost importance in the long run. A habituated sleep schedule leads to a healthier and happier lifestyle.