Sleep is a vital part of our daily lives. It’s a known fact but to a few people, sleep is not so important. These people might prefer to have very busy schedules during the day, working endlessly and tirelessly, attending to several businesses and social events. They only sleep when their body can no longer stay awake and when they feel extremely tired. In contrast, others lie in bed night after night unable to sleep, tossing from one angle of the bed to another and before they know it, morning comes, they get up feeling very exhausted and not able to carry out their daily functions. In this article, I’ll discuss sleep issues and how to get a perfect sleep every night.
I’ve often wondered why so many people can’t sleep while others are so eager to stay awake and attend to several functions. To me, nothing brings more comfort than waking up refreshed after getting a good night’s sleep. Before discussing best ways to get sleep and how you can fall asleep faster, I would like to discuss what happens when we sleep.
The Body’s Biological Clock
The mechanism of sleeping or falling asleep is still not very well understood however, several kinds of research done have published that sleep is an organized complex process that is controlled by the brain and usually followed the 24-hour biological clock.
A newborn baby sleep almost 20 hours a day but as we get older, our sleep cycle changes. As stated previously, there are 24 hours a day and some people can do with just three to four hours of sleep while others require up to eight to ten hours of sleep daily. What’s the appropriate allocated time for sleep?
The body’s clock is controlled by chemical substances in our brain. There’s a hormone released by several organs of the body called Melatonin but the major source is the pineal gland in the brain. These hormones had been associated with a reduction in the body’s metabolism that occurs before we fall asleep.
As melatonin is reduced, blood flow to the brain is reduced, the body temperature is reduced and our muscles gradually lose tone and become flaccid.
What Happens When We Sleep?
There are two phases of sleep. REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep. Non-Rem sleep is further divided into four stages of different sleep intensity. During REM sleep, the eye moves rapidly and during a good night’s sleep, REM sleep occur several times alternating with non- REM SLEEP.
Sometimes, dreaming occurs when we sleep and this occur during the REM sleep phase. During this sleep period, the muscles are very relaxed and as a result when the individuals wakes up, they usually feel very refreshed. More so when we learn new information during the day, these new information are being consolidated to our long term memory when we have better sleep at night.
As stated earlier, there are different stages of non REM sleep. Stages 1 to 4. The stages 1 defines a light sleep stage while stage four is the deep sleep stage. In periods of deep sleep which involves stages 3 and 4, the blood pressure and heart rate are very low which helps our cardiovascular system fight cardiovascular diseases, and also it’s during the period of deep sleep that our bodies secret the largest growth hormones which helps with injury and tissue repair and also with general body growth.
Sufficient amount of sleep is vital for the body and mind. When we avoid sleeping, we become more stressed “read about stress and how to manage it” so we need to learn how to get a perfect sleep every night.
ARE YOU DEPRESSED AND CAN’T SLEEP?
The brain is the power house of the body, it controls all our body functions. It contains nerve cells that must work together for the body to function normally. We’ve all been stressed at one point in our lives. Some of us experience daily stress which could be a beneficial stress (positive stress) or non-beneficial stress (negative stress). For the purpose of this post. I’ll use stress to mean a negative stress. Read more
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is the inability to enjoy normal and sufficient sleep. It is caused by a voluntary sleep deprivation due to your lifestyle or by involuntary sleep deprivation due to illness.
Several researchers estimate that people all over the world are now getting, an hour less sleep per night than what is needed.
Sleep debt can adversely affect the health and life span of the sufferers. It directly contributes to immune suppression, creating susceptibility to various infections. Insomnia is also linked to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and extreme obesity, as well as other health problems. There are over 17 recognized distinct sleep disorders leading to chronic insomnia.
Occasional sleep deprivation can also prove disastrous. An example would be falling asleep while driving or while in an important meeting.
How Much Sleep Does a Person Need?
Science say on average, human needs about eight hours of sleep for a sound mind and body. Other studies also suggests that sleep requirements vary according to individuals. The best way to access sleep debt is your personal assessment to determine if you got enough sleep which depends on how well rested you feel on getting up. Experts generally agree on these signs below as a definition of healthy sleep.
• Sleep comes easily to you, you don’t resort to any drugs or fight restlessness or anxiety.
• You are rarely aware of waking up in the middle of the night, and you can go back to sleep quickly when you wake up at night.
• You wake up naturally usually at the same time each morning and usually without the aid of an alarm clock.
• Once you are fully awake, you feel energized and fairly alert all day
The Effects of Not Sleeping
There are several effects of not sleeping and these are divided into both short and long term effects.
• Memory issues
• High blood pressure
• Trouble with thinking and concentration
• Mood changes
• Weakened immunity
• Weight gain
• Low sex drive
• Risk of heart diseases
• Weight gain
• Loss of concentration
• Premature aging
• Increased risk of infection
• Chronic memory loss.
The obvious signs is sleep deprivation include:
• Excessive day time sleepiness
• Extreme day time fatigue
• Loss of capacity to create, plan, and carry out activities
What Causes Not Being Able to Sleep at Night?
Insomnia as previously discussed is often related to a serious health problem. Chronic insomnia is insomnia lasting more than 1 month. When insomnia becomes chronic, it can lead to depression. It could also be as a result of a preexisting physical or mental illness. Sleep disorders include:
Apnea literally means “no breath. It usually lasts between 10 seconds to two or three minutes. People affected with apnea often wake up suddenly gasping for air and then falls back asleep. This usually happens several times in one night. ” most people with sleep apnea suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness and they usually have momentary blackouts. They snore loudly when they sleep and sometimes jerk themselves awake gasping for air.
There are several types is apnea. Central apnea occurs when the respiratory center in the brain fails to give the command for proper breathing. In obstructive sleep apnea, the upper airway at the back of the throat spontaneously closes obstructing air movement. While mixed apnea is a combination of the two. Most of them wake up in the morning with the feeling that they stayed up all night. Those with sleep apnea can fall asleep while driving. Some of them are prone to high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke.
Just like apnea, it also causes excessive daytime sleepiness. Symptoms include excessive drowsiness, falling asleep abruptly, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and occasional hallucinations before falling asleep.
Narcolepsy can go undiagnosed for years and the people affected can be viewed as lazy and mentally slow. It usually starts between the ages of 10 and 30. Narcolepsy is often misunderstood to be laziness
Restless leg syndrome
Occurs when a sensation deep on the muscles of the leg and knee cause a very powerful urge to move thus preventing suffers from falling asleep. It could be caused by caffeine intake. It’s most commonly associated with a lack of exercise or poor circulation to the leg.
Bruxism is a disorder characterized by grinding or clenching the teeth during sleep. If it occurs frequently, it can cause teeth ache and extreme jaw discomfort, resulting in serious insomnia.It is very dangerous to ignore sleep disorders.
Treatment is necessary for sleep disorders so if you suspect any friend or family member with the aforementioned sleep disorders, encourage them to seek medical help.
What causes not being able to sleep at night?
There are several causes of insomnia which included medical, psychiatric, environmental or other causes.
- Medical causes include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, apnea, restless leg syndrome, asthma, heart diseases, digestive diseases, periodic limb movement disorder, movements accompanied by periods of awakening.
- Psychiatric causes include anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks and depression.
- Environmental causes include light, noise, cold, uncomfortable mattress.
- Other causes include alcohol and substance abuse, side effects of certain medications.
Why Can’t I sleep Through The Night?
Today a lot of people are having sleep issues. According to India today, almost 20 percent of people on the world are sleek deprived and many resort to sleeping pills in a daily basis. The rate of insomnia sufferers is also on a steady rise as people are begging more stressed in their daily lives. Many insomniacs are unaware they have this condition and therefore resort to spending their time awake at night by feeling irritated and drowsy and that may also attend to other functions.
It’s very frustrating when you toss and toss on your bed for hours unable to fall asleep, with your eyes fully wide open starring at the ceiling while others are peacefully asleep.
One of the most common cause of chronic insomnia is snoring. Snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea which is the closure of the throat which prevents the sleeper from getting air into their lungs.
Sleeplessness may last for days and is generally related to stress. However, when it becomes chronic, it could impair our emotions and judgement and at this point, it becomes necessary to seek medical help.
Seeking Medical Help for Insomnia
The first step is recognizing the reason for not being able to fall asleep. Could you be suffering from a sleep disorder? When you recognize the reason for not being able to fall asleep, then treatment becomes possible. Insomnia can be treated in up to 90% of cases.
The medical examiner usually conducts a complete physical examination and a takes a detailed history. He might employ the use of a medical equipment called a polysomnogram which is used for the diagnosis of sleep disorders.
Obstructive sleep apnea as discussed previously is a major cause of chronic insomnia and it is usually treated with weight loss, avoidance of alcohol beverages, avoidance of muscle relaxant drugs, breathing exercises, relaxation exercises. In a more complex case, a surgical intervention may be required. There might be a resection of the throat, jaw, tongue, or nose to make the breathing process easier.
Best Ways to Get Sleep
To get a good night sleep, you need to have a good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene included getting regular exercise at an appropriate time of the day, eating at the right time and other factors listed below.
Top 10 Tips and Trick for better sleeping
- Exercise at the right time of the day. Exercising in the morning or afternoon can help you sleep well at night but when you exercise very close to bedtime, it can interfere with your sleep cycle.
2. Keeping your mind active before bedtime can keep you awake. Engage in activities that relax your mind e.g. meditation, reading something relaxing, listening to soothing music or take a warm bath.
3.Only lie on your bed when you really want to sleep. Avoid activities such as eating, studying, working, watching TV or playing the video game in your bedroom. The bedroom should be strictly for sleeping purposes.
4.For a good night’s sleep, you should also watch what you eat. Alcohol can cause drowsiness but can also impair sleep quality. Coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, and carbonated drinks should be avoided at night because they keep you stimulated rather eat mangoes, bananas, rice, or nuts. They can stimulate serotonin production in our brain and this be sleep-inducing. Do not eat heavy before bedtime or go to bed hungry.
5. Also be mindful of our sleep environment. Keep your room clean and tidy. Your room should be dark and noise free
6. For the best night’s sleep, ensure to sleep on a comfortable pillow and mattress.
7. Ensure to go to bed at the same time every day and also rise at the same time every day so as not to disrupt your sleep cycle
8. Be cautious about taking sleep-inducing medications.
10.food for better sleep- Almonds, Turkey,Chamomile Tea, Kiwi, Tart Cherry Juice, White Rice
A good night’s sleep allows you to be awake and alert throughout the day. Sleep is a vital part of life that should not be neglected or underestimated. After reading this blogpost, I’m sure you can improve your sleeping habits? So why not start tonight!
Thanks for your time.
Until next time. Görüşürüz.