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Why Sleep Is Necessary for Good Health + Sleep Hacks

When people talk about being healthy they usually talk about diet and exercise, but what about sleep? How does sleep affect your health? And how do you get better sleep?

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Better quality sleep has been linked to various health benefits. A lack of sleep, or sleeping at irregular hours, has been linked to a poor immune system. A good night’s sleep, if nothing else makes you feel good the next day — just ask any parent with a newborn what the opposite does to you. Sadly, many people struggle with sleep even when a newborn isn’t keeping them awake at night.

So let’s have a look at sleep and what it does to your health and how to improve the quality of your sleep.

Bad Sleep Negatively Affects Health

If you go to bed at 3am one night, 9pm the next night and 11pm the night after that, you’re effectively giving yourself jet lag and messing with your circadian rhythm (our inner biological clock). Disruption to the circadian rhythm has been linked to sleep problems, drub abuse, bipolar disorder and metabolic problems (weight gain and possibly diabetes). (1) (2)

As one study concluded: “Clinically, evidence suggests that if the circadian rhythm is experimentally disrupted in mice or men, metabolic syndrome and obesity, premature aging, diabetes, cardiac arrhythmias, immune deficiencies, hypertension [high blood pressure] and abnormal sleep cycles develop.” (3)

But that’s not all, various studies point to the fact that a lack of sleep leads to an increase in making mistakes. It can act as negatively on your judgement/cognitive functioning as drinking alcohol. (4) (5)

Alcohol Can Disrupt Your Circadian Rhythm

While a glass of wine may help make you sleepy, consuming a lot of alcohol can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Ironically, a disrupted circadian rhythm can then lead to alcohol misuse. The best way to prevent this is simply to stay away from large amounts of alcohol. (6)

Good Sleep Improves Memory and Brain Functioning

If you want to get better at problem solving, improve your academic performance and cognitive functioning general, as well as your memory, then a good night’s sleep is recommended. (7) (8) (9) (10)

A good night’s sleep also affects how well you perform physically — things like reaction time and speed in basketball players have shown to have correlation with sleep in studies. (11)

Turning Off the Lights

As light, both natural and artificial, impacts your circadian rhythm, it’s important to turn off the lights at night. If you have problems sleeping, try turning off all electronic devices and go about your business by candle light, or some other dim light source, for an hour before bedtime. You don’t want to strain your eyes, but by dimming your light sources, your body will start producing melatonin, which is a chemical needed for sleep.

Go to Bed at Regular Hours

As mentioned, if you keep changing the time of day when you go to bed, you mess with your circadian rhythm. Once the body knows when it’s time to go to bed and when it’s time to go to sleep, it falls into a pattern. It will often be a lot easier to fall asleep if you can do this.

Of course, you also need to get enough sleep. For adults that normally ranges between 6-9 hours, with most aiming for 7-8 hours per night.

Get Tropical

I watched Baywatch (the movie) the other day and I found the movie as appalling as I found Zac Efron hot and it left me inspired to do two things: hit a tropical beach and work on my fitness regime. I remember, as a child, growing up in Sweden, I dreamed of the tropics constantly. It was just so exotic with long white beaches and a constant supply of sunshine and tropical fruits. So as an adult I headed for warmer climates. Turns out, it might be doing something for my sleep!

In one study they found that ingesting either pineapples, bananas, or oranges increased the production of melatonin, pineapple the most, oranges the least. While the study didn’t conclude if this led to better sleep, if you want to increase melatonin production naturally, eating a pineapple in the evening, or making yourself a tropical smoothie, isn’t a bad idea. (12)

I really can’t believe I read a medical study about tropical fruits and got sidetracked by thinking about Zac Efron, but there you have it — though I’m pretty certain he does nothing for your sleep!

Drink Tart Cherry Juice

It’s not just tropical fruits that can help increase melatonin — tart cherries can as well. One study found that drinking tart cherry juice from Montmorency cherries for seven days helped subjects falling asleep faster and increased sleep efficiency by 5-6%. (13)

Try Herbal Supplements

If you have any interest in herbal medicine, you probably know that there are herbs that reportedly either relaxes you and/or help you sleep. Recently science has been trying to figure out why. Herbs that have had success in various studies include: chamomile, valerian, lavender (though it may be the scent, not the tea), lemon balm, passion flower, magnolia bark and linden. Ashwagandha is also rumored to work, though I haven’t found studies about it. (14 (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21)

If you use herbs to make herbal teas, or decide to buy a supplement, do look into potential side effects.

Get Hot

A hot shower and a cup of hot tea might just send you off to bed. When the body cools itself down, you often feel drowsy. Hence, having a hot bath, shower, or sauna before bed, or simply drinking a hot cup of tea, can both relax you and make you sleepy.

On the other hand, you want to make sure your bedroom is neither too hot, nor too cold for you to sleep through the night.

Exercise

Most of us get tired if we’ve had a day filled of activities. If you spend a lot of time by a desk, or simply don’t get a lot of exercise, try exercising more. This can help make you feel tired in the evening.

Control Your Mind

It’s no secret that anxiety, depression, or simply stress, can leave you tossing and turning at night. If you are worried about something, or something’s on your mind, you might want to try meditation and/or an app with guided relaxation before bedtime. Studies have shown a link between mediation and improved sleep. (22)

There are actually several apps available that help with sleep. While I haven’t reviewed them, it can be well worth your time to look into them. Even on YouTube you’ll find guided meditations that can help relax you. A guided meditation is sometimes easier than meditating on your own, as your mind has something to follow.

If you feel you are more depressed, or anxious than you’d like to be, contact a therapist, or other healthcare professional.

In Closing

There are many things you can do to help improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. Apart from the ones mentioned in this article, getting enough sunlight and eating a varied diet so you get all required vitamins, minerals and nutrients may also help your sleep. As sleep greatly affects our health, it’s important we take it seriously.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm#Effect_of_circadian_disruption

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5142605/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4632990/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15509817

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10984335

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3860420/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12421655

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25052368

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19379769

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/37/3/457

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21731144

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23252791

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/food-sourced-melatonin-provides-natural-way-help-sleep

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29154054

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198755/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7122669

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21869900

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21076869

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21294203

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-550/linden

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726  

Related Articles

Hospitals in the modern era have embraced technology in the provision of their products and services. Creating a conducive and comfortable environment for all medical workers and patients has been an agenda for many private hospital owners. Embracing glass boards for hospitals is one of the primary strategies that have been identified as helping the professionals in creating an environment where they can execute their daily duties. Glass boards for hospitals can be utilized in many areas depending o the capabilities of the hospital management. It requires creativity so that the clear glass boards are well installed and maintained. The glass boards for hospitals may have a high initial cost, but their maintenance is low compared to the conventional wooden whiteboards.

Also, cleaning the glass surfaces of the clear glass board is easy since it does not wear out easily like the traditional wooden boards. When buying the glass boards for hospitals, the involved stakeholders ought to check for the quality of the glass to ensure that it will be durable for a long time and Fab Glass and Mirror is the best online store. If you are wondering how glass boards for hospitals can be used in modern hospitals, read on to find out more.

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Inpatient Rooms

Being admitted to the hospital can be an uncomfortable ordeal for many people. The environment can make you unable to do things for yourself including talking to the physicians responsible for treating you. In most hospitals, doctors or nurses are required to take a patient’s symptoms and report on how they are feeling. Interviewing the patient every morning on the same thing could be monotonous and tiring. To avoid this and create a comfortable environment for them, a clear glass board can be installed in the patient rooms. The patients would then be required to record how they feel very morning without undergoing an interview. Following this routine, the patient can get used to it and help the nurses and doctors to quickly check on their progress. If you are considering adding glass boards for hospitals, consider adding them to the patient rooms which will also improve the efficiency of the doctors.

In Maternity Wards

Maternity wards are filled with mothers and their children. Nurses taking care of them are required to have recorded details of each of the patients. This could be tasking if you are in a maternity ward with too many patients. It is essential to add glass boards for a hospital in the maternity wards so that you can use them to display the details of the patients. The names of the patients, their infants, and any medical detail can be recorded on the clear glass board. For convenience, it would be best to install a glass board for hospitals in every maternity ward room. Additional information that could be included in the clear glass boards includes the maternity care teams and the feeding schedules.

Pediatric centers

Young children are intrigued by the different display of colors and graphics characters on boards. In most modern hospitals, they utilize clear glass boards to make an exciting environment for children. Attractive lights are added on the clear glass boards which make children feel more comfortable. Also, cartoon characters may be added on the boards to ensure that children feel more at home than in a hospital. It is a strategy that has been known to be effective when attending to children. If you have a pediatric section in your hospital, you could consider introducing glass boards for hospitals and add attractive lighting with modern cartoon characters on them.

In Surgical Rooms

Conducting surgery within a hospital requires that several medical professionals be involved. Communication within the surgery room can be challenging if you are busy working on an emergency operation. Most hospitals today have installed clear glass boards in surgery rooms to be used for instructional purposes. The instructions about the operation can be written on the clear glass boards without the risk of contaminating the environment. Also, information about the patient being operated n can be written on the clear glass boards. Compared to the traditional whiteboards, the glass boards for hospitals are more preferred due to their ease of leaning which reduces the risk of infection within surgical rooms. Adding the clear glass board in the surgical room in your hospital will add some elegance and improve efficiency in the long run.

Waiting Rooms

Patients in the waiting rooms may need o to have access to essential information about the medical teams on duty, their availability, working hours among other factors. The glass boards for hospitals may be mounted in the waiting rooms where such information is written. This makes the patients prepared before they meet the doctors in charge. They are more comfortable knowing the doctors to expect in the diagnosis rooms. 


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