We’ve all heard stories about good night’s sleep “if you want to lose weight you need at least 8 hours of sleep per night”, “If you want to reduce stress and improve creativity you need a good sleeping pattern” etc etc. But what are the scientific reasons why we all need a good sleeping pattern? Here’s why!
Not sleeping enough doesn’t only impact on your physical performance but also on your mental health. Scientists have discovered that sleep disruption - which affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones - wreaks havoc in the brain, impairing physical and emotional regulation. In this way, insomnia may amplify the effects of psychiatric disorders, and vice versa. A bad sleeping pattern can improve the risk of bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety disorders.
There is plenty of advice on what can help you sleep better. Physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and wake up less during the night. Sleep hygiene, which is using tactics such as keeping the bedroom dark and only using your bed for sleeping, can also help. Relaxation techniques including meditation and deep breathing exercises are also effective.
Physically, good sleep can boost your immune system, it can help prevent weight gain, strengthen your heart, and improve your memory. Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate and recover. Some research even shows that better sleep quality can help the body fight off infections.
To improve your night's sleep you need to decrease technology use atleast one hour before going to bed. The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and television retrains the production of melatonin in your body - the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Blue light also keeps your brain alert and wakes you up as your body perceives the lights as an activity.
Not using technology one hour before sleeping may sound nearly impossible as we live in a “Netflix society” and nearly everybody checks their Instagram before going to sleep; but it’s something to work on if we want to improve the quality of our nights and days.