We know that sleep is vital for survival – humans require sleep in order to sustain life. But it goes a step further than pure survival. Good sleep is required for good health. It’s not just THAT we sleep that matters. How much we sleep and that our sleep is of good quality matters greatly. Many of us, due to the pressures of living busy lives do not give thought to our sleep patterns and how our sleep habits may be affecting us. Learning to form positive sleep habits and limit the things negatively affecting our sleep will not only improve healthy sleep patterns but also improve our health as well.
Did you know that humans spend about 1/3 of their lives sleeping? Most adults need 7-8 hours of continuous, good-quality sleep each day. Occasionally a person will need more than this, based on individualized factors (recovering from an illness and injury), and this increased need for sleep is necessary for the overall health of your body.
It is vitally important to get not only the correct amount of sleep but also to ensure that you have good quality sleep. Although scientists have long tried to figure the exact ‘whys and how’s of human sleep – one factor is clear – good quality sleep is essential for health. That includes both a healthy body and a healthy mind. Benefits of sleep include health benefits to the mind and body. This includes reduced stress, improved mood, relational and emotional health, mental clarity and focus; maintaining a healthy weight, lowered risk for mild and severe disease -people who sleep well get sick with colds and flu less often, but they are also at a lower risk for serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Sleep is one of those fascinating concepts that is affected BY many things, and in turn, AFFECTS almost every area of our lives if not properly achieved. For example, it is not surprising to note that a person who’s had a bad night’s sleep would struggle to learn something new the next day. But it has been found that it is just as important for a person to get a good night’s sleep after they learn something new. This is because the brain needs this restorative time in order to process and retain what was learned that day. What then constitutes a “good night’s sleep”? The answer lies in both lengths of sleep, and in the concept of uninterrupted sleep.
Continuous sleep is proven to equal healthy sleep. Sleeping straight through the night versus having interrupted sleep (either frequently or over long periods of time) is vital to receiving the benefits of sleep. The body has been designed to cycle through the stages of sleep (REM, non-REM), and disruptions to this cycling disrupt the process of sleep. Studies show that getting continuous sleep is critical for the brain and body to function effectively. It is at least as important as the duration of time that you sleep. In other words, in order to have healthy sleep, we need to be making sure we sleep long enough, without interruption. The two go hand in hand.
But what do we do when we don’t or can’t get good sleep? Poor sleep can be disruptive on many levels and comes with consequences. Many of the direct consequences relate to our overall health. Often consistent poor sleep habits result in sickness. Poor sleep habits can promote weight gain. It also increases your risk for more serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Generally, people get less sleep when stressed, and poor sleep has a compounding effect on increasing overall stress levels and negatively affecting mood. Poor mood in turn affects our relationships with others and our outlook in life. Poor sleep is also associated with a decrease in the ability to think clearly and perform better in daily activities. A person’s overall safety is also compromised by poor sleep – minor accidents are more likely as well as major accidents such as car accidents. Drowsy drivers are dangerous drivers.
Many times the reasons we experience poor sleep are stress-related or circumstantial. Things such as stress or anxiety, pain, medication side effects, stimulants such as caffeine, soda, tea, alcohol, or drugs, as well as particular health conditions such as asthma, heartburn, or muscle tension can negatively affect sleep. There is also the possibility that an undiagnosed sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea is also affecting your sleep. It is therefore important to seek medical advice if you are experiencing poor sleep quality and can not identify the cause.
Putting measures in place to limit or remove the factors affecting sleep remove will go a long way in improving our sleep. Focusing on creating healthy sleep habits, by evaluating our lives and making necessary changes can assist in improving your sleep quality. These changes are usually simple steps that relate to healthy lifestyle choices that often improve sleep.
Evaluate aspects such as:
- your sleep environment
- sleep interruptions
- habits 1 hour prior to bedtime
- your diet, water intake, and exercise habits
Assess if you can make any positive changes in these areas. Positive changes can include:
- exercising outdoors
- avoiding alcohol, sugar, or caffeine before bed
- avoiding screens up to an hour before bedtime.
- setting a bedtime routine to ensure you are ready for sleep and getting enough hours of sleep
If you feel that you have addressed these aspects and still have poor sleep – possibly due to pain, interruptions, or illness, contact a medical professional. A medical professional can determine if there is an underlying medical condition affecting your sleep that can be addressed. Consider booking a consultation with one of our team members at Natural Bio Health. Our team is trained to assess your situation holistically and determine the best course of action to improve your sleep. We offer several supplements to improve sleep, you can check them out here.
Making use of supplements to support good sleep can be beneficial. For some people, melatonin is a good option to improve sleep. It is used by many as a sleep aid since its primary responsibility is to regulate the circadian rhythm, thus managing your natural sleep cycle. Studies have shown that melatonin has other health benefits, and since it acts as an antioxidant, it can assist in many health conditions. It is recommended that you discuss your individual situation with a health care provider before beginning melatonin, as it can have side effects or not be suited to certain individuals
Contact Natural Bio Health Today
Our team is dedicated to helping you understand the numerous factors that may be preventing optimal sleep. Learn more about taking control of your well-being with Natural Bio Health. Join the wellness journey to achieve optimal health, fight disease and boost immune health to combat viruses.
Our team of specialists understands our patients’ concerns about office safety during the time of COVID-19. We are proud to offer telemedicine services through video and phone calls. We are also seeing patients in person at our offices, but are abiding by new, strict safety precautions. To schedule your appointment, contact us here. We serve patients in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Round Rock, and College Station.