Sleep is an essential part of life. A decline in the state of physiological and psychological well-being occur due to sleep deprivation. Research over the last decade has shown the importance of sleep on physical and mental health.
It’s frustrating to toss and turn in bed all night while the hours tick away. A lack of sleep impacts our thinking and physical performance the following day. Conditions like insomnia require treatment with better sleep hygiene and the use of sleep aids.
Sleep and Physical Health
Adequate sleeping hours are critical for maintaining our physical state of well-being. While we sleep, our body restores its metabolic function. Heart rate settles to normal range, and our blood pressure returns to baseline levels. As we relax, our blood vessels dilate and flow smoothly through our arterial system. This increase in circulation helps our brain clear environmental and stress toxins that accumulate during the day.
People that consistently experience sleep deprivation eventually put themselves at risk of developing diseases and health disorders. Hormone imbalances, such as adrenal fatigue, are common in people that don’t get enough sleep.
Individuals that don’t sleep for more than 7-hours also expose themselves to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If their sleep deprivation continues, they may eventually experience a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack.
Sleep and Mental Health
Getting enough sleep is critical to maintaining a healthy state of mind. If you consistently experience sleep deprivation, it may lead to the development of mental illness. People that receive less than six to seven hours of sleep a night are at risk of mental illness.
A lack of sleep may result in mental issues such as high-anxiety and depression. Continued lack of sleep can ruin your state of well-being and feelings of malaise begin to creep to the forefront of your mind.
Malaise is a mental state where we feel as if something is wrong with our mind and body. There is no cure for the condition, and there’s no medication to treat the symptoms. However, when we return to a regular sleep schedule, these feelings tend to dissipate.
The Optimal Sleep Scenario – How Many Hours Do You Need?
Medical research suggests that we need 8-hours of sleep a night to feel its therapeutic benefit. Any less than this prescribed amount and were jeopardizing our physical and mental health. Over and under-sleeping are detrimental to our health. Set a regular bedtime and stick to it. Try to wake up at the same time every morning.
Tips for Improving Sleep Hygiene
“Sleep hygiene” describes the behavior in and around your sleeping cycle. Specific strategies such as avoiding stimulants and alcohol, and eating earlier in the day can improve your ability to fall asleep.
Your sleep environment plays a huge role in your ability to fall and remain asleep as well. Use a sleeping mask as a tool for getting enough sleep. A mask and blackout curtains keep your room dark and reinforce your circadian rhythms.
Run a hot bath, or take a hot shower before you retire to bed. Stretch out your muscles and meditate for a few minutes before getting under the covers.
In Closing – Ask Your Doctor About Sleep Medication
You may need to seek professional help if you’re doing all you can to improve your sleep hygiene and find that you’re experiencing broken or insufficient sleep. Book a consultation with your doctor and tell them about your problem.
Your doctor may prescribe pharmaceutical or over-the-counter sleep aids to improve your condition. However, it’s important to note that you can’t remain on sleeping drugs indefinitely. These medications will help you set a sleep schedule and adjust your circadian rhythms into a regular pattern.