Lack of sleep can have a significant impact on both the mind and body. In addition to perpetuating serious conditions, lack of sleep can negatively affect your mood and temperament, as well as your ability to focus on daily tasks. Also, lack of sleep influences what you eat and how much you eat. Since hormones are regulated during sleep when you lack hours of sleep, your hunger hormones get out of control and that increases the feeling of hunger and decreases satiety. It is not a coincidence that you find yourself looking for bagels and rolls when you are exhausted.
Despite some individual differences and that the required hours of sleep usually appear to decrease as age increases, it is generally considered that adults should sleep between seven and eight hours each night.
In fact, it seems that with increasing age the necessary hours of sleep are not reduced; it is the sleep patterns that change; Thus, elderly people tend to sleepless at night, but require the intervention of short naps during the day. Thus, the total amount of sleep is the same, but the hourly distribution is not. People who feel active during the day and do not suffer from a sensation of sleep are considered to have slept enough hours. People with insomnia are generally considered not to be able to stay active and watch normally during the day.
Surely you have heard that resting well and having healthy sleep habits are essential for the good intellectual and physical development of people, in such a way that those who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of suffering from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression and obesity, even cancer.
This statement, which to many seems somewhat exaggerated, is based on the publication of numerous studies that have evaluated the immune, inflammatory and cardiovascular consequences of sleep restriction and recovery. Through different works, published in specific magazines in this area such as Sleep Medicine, among others, it seems certain that lack of sleep greatly affects our immune system,
In fact, a study published in 2014 investigated the acute effects of total sleep deprivation on blood neutrophils, the most abundant immune cell in our circulation, and the first type of cell recruited at sites of infection. Finding that sleep deprivation directly affected the body’s immune system, increasing the production of immature Neutrophils and decreasing the amount of mature Neutrophils, making the individual more susceptible to infections.
And is that sleep disturbances are more frequent in the population than we would like, in fact according to data from the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN) in Spain more than 4 million Spanish adults suffer from chronic insomnia and between 25-35 % of the population suffer from it temporarily. One in three people suffers from some sleep disorder and although it can be treated, less than a third go-to specialists for help, and it is estimated that around 4% of the Spanish population between 15 and 65 years of age have used hypnotics without prescription for the past year.
Insomnia can be caused by several reasons, among which are having too many worries and thinking a lot at night. Insomnia can be caused by multiple circumstances, some of which require medical or psychological treatment. Often the onset of insomnia coincides with a certain life circumstance, but in many cases, the triggering factor remains undetected or is the sum of several factors that cannot be elucidated with certainty. However, some circumstances acquired habits in relation to sleep can help or hinder the development of satisfactory night rest. Thus, some practices or customs that can help or harm the quality of night sleep are considered.
Recommended habits to rest and sleep well
- Regularity at bedtime and wake up: in this way, the body will adapt its daily cycles to a daily schedule that will give stability and regularity to the hours of sleep and will help you sleep.
- Develop routines before bedtime: doing the same activities as a preamble to go to sleep warns and helps the body to begin the processes that will lead to sleep.
- Not doing important physical activities in the last hours of the night: physical exercises such as gymnastics or sports should not be performed shortly before bed.
- Do not ingest excitants or foods that may interfere with sleep: tobacco, caffeinated beverages should not be consumed in periods close to bedtime.
- Similarly, separate main meals from sleeping hours, so as not to try to go to bed while digestion is still taking place.
- If possible, use the bedroom room almost exclusively for sleep, not for reading, studying or eating: this way, the brain reflex will associate the room with rest and when entering the bedroom, the brain processes of sleep will begin to prepare.
- Keep the bedroom dark and quiet, with the bed comfortable and at a comfortable temperature.
- In case of not being able to sleep in the first minutes, not doing any activity that may cause sleeplessness, or worrying: keep a comfortable and relaxed position, eyes closed and silent. Generally, the dream will begin in a short period of time.
Sleep hygiene may not correct an established insomnia problem or other sleep disorders, but it can improve conditions so that it does not appear or improve substantially with less intense treatment.
The Basics of Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is essential, but many of us children and adults alike do not get enough sleep. One of the best ways to get back on track is through better sleep hygiene. This means establishing habits that promote a good night’s sleep, such as establishing a routine.
Routines look different at different ages. For example, babies are not born with the same biological clock that keeps us asleep at night and awake during the day. Instead, babies will sleep for a few hours and then stay awake for a few hours, regardless of the time of day. This is perfectly normal behavior for a newborn, so parents should let them adhere to their natural sleep patterns and try to sleep when they sleep. To avoid having a tired baby, parents should reinforce their natural sleep schedule by starting a calming activity after an hour or more of an awake baby. Parents can also help babies follow sleep patterns that you want them to develop by placing them in sunny rooms during the day and in dark rooms at night. Eventually, they will start sleeping more at night and taking fewer and fewer naps.
As children get older, a routine should involve a set time to go to sleep, because they will often want to be awake watching TV, playing games, or texting. And because it can be difficult for kids to fall asleep after all the stimulation they get from doing these things, the bedtime routine should also involve a screenless time before bedtime to help them calm down. The goal is for children to go to bed feeling sleepy.
We emphasize the importance of working on our sleep habits to maintain or get more restful sleep for our health.
Remember that the first changes most beneficial to your health begin with the analysis of your reality, your desire to improve and gain quality of life, and how almost everything in life a little effort until those changes become a habit and a constant in your life.