Sleep is an indispensable function that refreshes your body and mind, making you feel revitalized and alert when you are awake. Healthy sleep also helps the body to remain hale and hearty and ward off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function efficiently. Inadequate sleep can interfere your abilities to concentrate, think clearly, and process information.

Most adults require between seven-nine hours of sleep. Children and teenagers need more sleep, especially if they’re younger than 5 years of age. Day-to-day stressors, busy work timetables, unconducive bedroom setting, moods, little ones and medical conditions can all prevent us from receiving enough sleep. However, nutritious diet and positive lifestyle habits like exercising can help ensure an adequate amount of sleep.

Stages of Sleep

Once you fall asleep, your body follows the sleep circle divided into four stages. The first three stages are called Non-Rapid Eye Movement (ERM) sleep, and the final stage is known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.

Stage 1: The first stage marks the transition between wakefulness and sleep, and consists of light sleep. Muscles relax and your heart rate, breathing and eye movement begin to slow down, so do your brain waves, which are more active when you’re awake. Your activeness begins to reduce at this stage. This stage typically lasts several minutes before you go into deep sleep and become unaware of your environment.

Stage 2: This stage is categorized by deeper sleep as your heart rate ends, breathing rates continue slowing down, and the muscles become more relaxed. Eye movement will stop and your body temperature will reduce, brain waves also remain slow. This stage is typically the longest of the four sleep stages.

Stage 3: This stage plays a significant role in making you feel reinvigorated and prepared for the next day. Heartbeat, breathing, and brain wave activity all reach their lowest levels, the muscles are as relaxed as they will be. This stage will be longer at first and decrease in duration throughout the night.

REM: Here, your eyes will move back and forth rather quickly under your eyelids. Breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure will begin to increase. Dreaming will naturally occur during REM sleep, and your arms and legs will become numbed- it’s believed this is intended to prevent you from physically acting out on your dreams. The duration of each REM sleep cycle increases as the night progresses.

These four stages will repeat intermittently throughout the night until you wake up.

The Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep
  1. For most, adults, at least seven hours of sleep each night is required for proper cerebral and social functions. An unsatisfactory amount of sleep can lead to grave impacts. Some studies have shown sleep deprivation leaves people susceptible to attention lapses, reduced cognition, delayed reactions and mood swings.

  2. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep can improve your immune function and help fight the common cold. Sleep restores the body for proper function. Better sleep quality can help the body fight off infection.

  3. Lower risk of heart disease. One risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure, getting adequate sleep each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself doing and decreases the chances of sleep related conditions such as apnea, it also enhances your overall heart health.

  4. Increased social and emotional intelligence: Someone who does not get adequate sleep is very likely to have problems with identifying other people’s emotions and expressions. And when one is unable to do this, it breeds misunderstanding.

Practical Steps to Help You Sleep Well
  • Have a realistic bedtime and adhere to it every night, even on the weekends and public holidays.

  • Maintain a comfortable temperature settings and low light levels in your bedroom.

  • Have a relaxed sleep environment by ensuring you have the best mattress, best pillows and best sheets- these could come in your best color for your sleep preferences and body type.

  • Avoid screens- televisions, computers and tablets, cell phones and other electronic devices in your bedroom.

  • Fasting from caffeine, alcohol and large meals in the hours leading up to bedtime. They can make you active and restless, thereby depriving you of sleep.

  • Exercise during the day; this can help you feel tired in the evening and prepare you for sleep.

Sleep Recommendations for Different Age Groups
  • Newborns 0-3 months: 14-17 hours

  • Infants 4-12 months: 12-16 hours

  • Toddler 1-2years: 11-14 hours

  • Preschool 3-5 years: 10-13 hours

  • School age 6-12 years: 9-12 hours

  • Teen 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

  • Adult 18-60 years: 7 plus hours

  • Adult 61-64: 7-9 hours

  • Adult 65 plus years: 7-8 hours

As important as the number of hours, so also is the quality of sleep. Getting a good sleep is extremely significant for your health. In fact, it’s just as vital as eating a balanced diet and exercising on a regular basis. Sleep denial can put your health at risk, which is why it’s essential that you prioritize and protect your sleep with jealousy on a daily basis. Getting adequate sleep may help avert heart disease, illness period and extra weight gain.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *