LiveMD looks at the importance of a good night’s sleep and why it is necessary for optimal health.
Nothing beats curling up in bed at night, closing our eyes and drifting off to sleep. Unfortunately, for so many of us though, sleep is not something that comes easily. It is estimated that over 70 million people in North America alone suffer from some type of sleep disorder. Whether it be difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep, any trouble sleeping can pose a big threat to our health and wellbeing and can cause complications that affect us throughout our waking hours.
What Happens When We Sleep
When it starts to become dark, our bodies begin to produce certain hormones that help get us ready for sleep. Our breathing becomes slower and deeper, our body temperature and blood pressure drops and our heart rate begins to slow down as well. Throughout the night, we go through different and deeper stages of sleep and during these stages our muscles become relaxed and the blood supply to them increases. When this happens, tissues begin to repair themselves and new muscle and tissue is created. Our energy levels become restored and our immune system is rejuvenated as well.
Why Is Sleep Important
A good night’s sleep is so important for the proper functioning of our bodies and for good overall health. Sleep provides us with the energy that we need to power us through our busy days and helps to boost our immunity to protect us from getting sick. Certain hormones are released during sleep that help us to grow and generate new cells and other hormones are released to help to control our appetite. During sleep, our bodies begin to repair themselves. Muscles, tissues, blood vessels and our internal organs regenerate. Our brain benefits as well as memories are stored, recall ability is improved and our mood is boosted.
Without consistent, good levels of sleep we are unable to function properly in our daily lives. Our attention span and concentration levels will be lacking and we will be more prone to sickness and disease. Our entire overall health will be diminished and we will be put at much higher risk for many different diseases.
Techniques To Get a Better Night’s Rest
Here are some suggestions to help get a better night’s sleep every night:
- Set a Routine: By having a set time that you go to bed and a routine that you follow every night, your body will begin to prepare itself for sleep at the same time each night.
- Avoid Unnatural Light – Bright, indoor lights, TV’s and cell phones all produce unnatural light that can affect the production of the hormone melatonin which is responsible for preparing us for sleep. Avoid these lights and devices for at least one hour prior to going to bed each night.
- Relieve Stress – Turning our minds off can be a big factor in being unable to fall asleep at night. Stress from our daily lives can often leave our minds full of thoughts that keep us tossing and turning in our beds. Activities like yoga, meditation and tai chi can calm our minds and allow sleep to come more easily.
- Control your Bedroom Temperature – Temperature is important for falling asleep quickly. If you are too warm it will be very difficult to sleep. Ensure that the inside temperature is slightly on the cool side by using fans or air conditioning if possible.
- See your Doctor – If all else fails and sleep still eludes you, a consultation with your doctor is in order. Many sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea require assistance from a medical professional. Sleeping devices or prescription medication may be the answer for you.
Do you have questions about sleep and need to speak with a doctor? Don’t hesitate. Visit www.mylivemd.com today and get a better sleep tonight.
Select a Doctor below and talk by Phone, Text, Video Chat, or In-Person.