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  |   Health


Why is sleeping important and tips on how to get a good night's sleep

Andrew Roberts/Flickr

Sleep plays a vital role in your health. Just like eating, drinking, and breathing, it is a basic human need. It doesn't only restore you physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

Aside from giving your body a rest, a lot of biological processes actually happen when you sleep, processes that are vital to your overall health in order for your body to continue functioning properly.

When you sleep, it is when your brain stores new information and gets rid of toxic waste. Sleep also boosts a healthy brain function because it is the time when your nerve cells communicate and reorganize.

It is also the time when your body repairs cells and restores energy and the time when hormones that are important for your body to function well are released.

According to health experts, a healthy adult should be able to pack in between seven to nine hours of sleep, more hours for a youngster while people in their senior years should have no less than seven hours of sleep overnight.

Unfortunately, sleep does not come easy for all people. There are some who have difficulty falling asleep even when they get into bed early. And, just shutting their eyes do not work for them.

There are a few tips that you can do to be able to sleep soundly at night and wake up refreshed.

Sleep experts say that it is very important for you to be in sync with your circadian rhythm or your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. It is important to sleep and wake-up at the same time every day. Even if you sleep the same number of hours but at different times, you will not feel as refreshed and energized as when you follow your sleeping schedule.

Sleeping on a schedule and staying true to it every day will set your body's internal clock and boost the quality of your sleep.

This means you have to avoid sleeping in on weekends or on your days off, limiting your naps to between 15 and 20 minutes and fighting your drowsiness, especially after eating big meals.

Another tip is to control your exposure to light to optimize your body's production of the melatonin hormone, which is involved in your sleep-wake process.

More melatonin is produced by your brain when it is dark, making you feel sleepy, and less is secreted when there is light. That is why it is important to expose yourself to natural light as soon as you wake up and avoid bright lights about two hours before your bedtime. This is the reason why watching TV late at night is discouraged and why bringing your gadgets with you to bed is also not advisable.

When you go to sleep, you have to make sure that the room is dark, and only a dim light is turned on all throughout the night just in case you need to get up and use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

The stress that you get from your day to day life can also disrupt your sleeping pattern. Thus, you have to try and spend time to calm your mind or clear your head before going to bed. There are some relaxation techniques that you can learn, or maybe read a book, take a warm bath or listen to music.

Image credit courtesy of Andrew Roberts/Flickr

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