Getting enough sleep can help you feel your best. Healthy sleep patterns improve learning, memory, creativity, and mood. Healthy sleep also strengthens your immune system and makes it easier for you to maintain a healthy diet.
The concept of healthy sleep
Sleep is a complex process that affects the whole body. When we sleep, we move through a series of 5 stages of sleep, starting from light sleep (stages 1 and 2) to deep sleep (stages 3 and 4), and then rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Therefore, it is necessary to allow your body to go through all these stages of sleep several times each night, because this allows sleep to perform its primary function, which is restoring the health of the body and mind, and helping it to process new information, so healthy sleep helps you reap the greatest benefits from it when you get enough hours of sleep. Sleeping relatively uninterrupted every night, with the need to maintain a fixed sleep schedule that suits the nature of your life.
The benefits of sleep
Sleep has many proven health benefits. You know you won't feel rested and satisfied with your day when you don't get enough sleep, but you may not realize how poor sleep can have in the long run.
Here are its most important health benefits
- Heart health: Your body releases hormones during sleep. Some of these hormones contribute to maintaining cardiovascular health.
- Regulating the level of blood sugar: Sleep helps regulate the metabolism in the body, so sleep deprivation can cause many metabolic problems, including a change in the level of sugar in the blood, which is a problem for those who suffer from diabetes, and it increases the chance of infection. with type 2 diabetes.
- Stress: Sleep helps your mind and body relax and recover at the end of the day. When you deprive yourself of sleep, your body releases stress hormones. Lack of sleep at night can also make you feel anxious.
- Immune system: Sleep regulates the immune system. When you don't get enough sleep, the irregular activity of the immune system can cause inflammation.
- Balance: Sleep deprivation can cause balance problems, which in turn may cause falls and injury, as sleep maintains physical capabilities.
- Feeling Alert: A good night's sleep makes you feel energized and alert. This helps you focus and get things done.
- Memory consolidation: Sleep has a major role in consolidating memory. During sleep, your brain makes connections to connect events, feelings, and sensory inputs to form memories.
- Brain functions: Sleep has a significant impact on the performance of basic brain functions such as complex thinking, planning, decision-making, and problem-solving.
- Weight loss: Lack of sleep is one of the factors that increase the chance of weight gain or obesity. Lack of sleep may affect the balance of ghrelin and leptin, which are the hormones responsible for appetite.
- Maintaining Health: While you sleep, your body works hard to repair the damage caused by stress, UV rays, and other harmful things you are exposed to.
Number of hours of healthy sleep by age
The number of hours of healthy sleep depends on several factors, including age, lifestyle, and body health. Therefore, each person may need a certain number of hours according to his age:
Newborns: 16-18 hours a day. Healthy sleep for preschool children is 11-12 hours a day. Healthy sleep for students, i.e. children of school age: at least 10 hours a day. Teens: 9-10 hours a day. Adults (including the elderly): 7-8 hours a day.
Tips for healthy sleep
When you can't control the factors that affect sleep, you may be able to adopt habits that encourage you to sleep better. Here are the best tips for getting healthy sleep:
- Stick to a sleep schedule: Don't sleep more than eight hours. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don't need more than eight hours of sleep to achieve this goal.
- Pay attention to your food and drink: Do not go to bed hungry or gorged on food. You should also avoid food, especially fatty or large meals, two hours before bedtime. You should also beware of nicotine and caffeine before bed.
- Create a comfortable environment: Find the perfect room for sleeping. This means a quiet, dark and quiet room. Avoid prolonged use of bright screens before bedtime. Calming activities such as taking a shower or using relaxation techniques can lead to better sleep.
- Limit naps during the day: Long naps during the day can interfere with sleep at night. If you choose to snooze, limit yourself to a 30-minute nap and avoid doing it late in the day.
- Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine: Regular physical activity can improve your sleep, however, avoid being active too close to your bedtime.
- Managing Anxiety: Try to eliminate anxiety or worries before bedtime.
healthy sleep for pregnant women
Several changes occur in the body of a pregnant woman, which is different changes from one month to another, and with the increase in the size of the abdomen during pregnancy, the difficulty of sleeping increases, but the pregnant woman can choose the appropriate position to sleep in order to get a deeper and more comfortable sleep, and thus her sleep is healthy.
Here are some tips that a pregnant woman can follow to get a more comfortable sleep to support the back and abdomen, and to improve her body position in line with the changes in it:
- Sleeping on the left side: It was found that this position is the safest for the child and the most comfortable for the mother with the increase in the size of the abdomen because this position improves blood circulation and makes the passage of blood carrying nutrients from the heart to the placenta an easy passage, in addition to that sleeping in this position protects The liver from the pressure that may be caused by the weight gained during pregnancy, and although sleeping on the right side is also comfortable; But the left one is the best.
- Placing pillows to comfort the body and abdomen: It is recommended to place a pillow under the abdomen and another between the knees. A pillow can be placed under the body, which contributes to maintaining sleep on the side and preventing turning over on the stomach or back. To improve breathing: Place a pillow under the side to elevate the chest.
- To get rid of heartburn: raise the head of the bed with books, for example; This helps stomach acids stay inside and prevents reflux into the esophagus.
Some common types of sleep disorders include:
Insomnia and its treatment
It is a condition in which you find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night. Insomnia treatment can be started by changing sleep habits and addressing any problem that may be associated with insomnia. Stress, medical conditions, or medications can help many people get more restful sleep. If these measures don't work, your doctor may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, or both to help you relax better and fall asleep.
Sleep apnea, and its treatment
When you feel abnormal breathing patterns during sleep, there are several types of sleep apnea. As for treatment for more moderate cases of sleep apnea, the doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, and quitting smoking, If you have allergic rhinitis, your doctor may recommend allergy medication. In more severe cases, certain devices can help open a blocked airway. In more severe cases, surgery may be required.
Restless legs syndrome and its treatment
It is a type of movement disorder during sleep. Restless legs syndrome, which is also called Willis-Ekbom disease, causes a feeling of discomfort and an urge to move the legs while trying to fall asleep. As for the treatment of this condition, treatment of underlying conditions such as iron deficiency improves the symptoms. Extensive restless legs syndrome. Treatment of iron deficiency may include oral or intravenous iron supplements. However, do not take iron supplements unless under medical supervision, and after your doctor checks the level of iron in your blood. If you have restless legs syndrome without it being related to an underlying condition, treatment will focus on lifestyle changes. If these aren't effective, your doctor may prescribe medications.
Narcolepsy and its treatment
Narcolepsy is a condition characterized by feeling very sleepy during the day and suddenly falling asleep during the day. There is no cure for narcolepsy, but medications and lifestyle modifications can help control symptoms.
Tips for improving sleep
There are some simple measures that help improve sleep and its quality, including:
- Relaxation: One of the main causes of insomnia in modern man is psychological and emotional stress. Therefore, in order to improve the quality of sleep, you must first relax by drinking herbal tea, reading a book, or taking a bath with scented oils.
- Complete darkness: It should be completely dark in the bedroom because darkness helps increase the secretion of the "sleep hormone" melatonin, which is responsible for the body’s circadian rhythm. Avoid all sources of light inside your bedroom.
- Do not stay in bed when insomnia: It is recommended to get up and leave the bedroom in case of insomnia (for example, go to another room and read a book).
- Do not use the smartphone before bed: It is necessary to abandon the use of the smartphone and other electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed, because their lighting stimulates the brain, as these devices impede the secretion of the hormone melatonin.
- Not sleeping during the day and not eating late: In the event of sleep disorders, you must give up sleeping during the day, and not eat late.
Healthy sleep is very important and beneficial for the health of the body and mind together, and therefore to ensure a healthy and normal day and practice all life activities with the highest possible efficiency, your sleep must be sufficient and healthy during the night.