It is important to get a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that the amount of sleep you get can affect you both physically and mentally. It impacts your weight, brain function, metabolism, and mood.
How are you sure you’ve had enough sleep? The Required sleeping hours may vary according to ages, personality, and social activities but it’s expected that adults have at least seven hours of sleep while kids should have up to 10-12 hours of sleep per day. As important as you need to sleep, other factors can contribute to the success of this daily activity.
To some people, sleep comes with ease but for some others, they dread the night because of the struggle and anxiety they have to go through trying to sleep. This often stresses them out, and if by chance they get a little sleep, they wake up with eye bags caused by lack of proper sleep.
Why it’s important to sleep
Sleep aids weight loss: fitness experts always advise people who are trying to lose weight to get good hours of sleep and go to bed early enough as well. When one stays awake till very late at night, the person usually gets hungry or just want to nibble on something. Sleeping early saves you from the temptation of strolling to the kitchen by 1: am. Make an effort to sleep early but if you can, make sure not to visit your fridge at an “ungodly hour”. When you sleep your body still burns calories, it is said that the body burns up to 50 calories per hour of sleep although this may differ based on individual metabolic rate.
Reduces and stabilizes blood pressure: The body does a lot of repairs when you sleep; staying awake longer just makes your body work overtime without having the required time to rest. If you already have high blood pressure don’t joke with your sleep because it is an essential part of your health. Sleep helps control the hormone responsible for stress and metabolism. Continuous disruption of these hormones can lead to increased stress levels and crankiness which will eventually cause your blood pressure to rise.
Sleep aids brain function: have you heard someone say “get a good sleep before your big day? Good sleep helps you stay calm, alert and reduces anxiety. The night activity can greatly affect your productivity during the day at work. It also affects your mental state and reduces cognitive function and emotional balance. Sleep is essential to brain health so attempt to get good hours.
Reduces risk of depression: the brain has a way of reorganizing and repairing itself after everyday activity. People who don’t get enough sleep always show up tired and sad to work in the morning, if this lack of sleep becomes a norm there’s every tendency for depression to set in and we know how worse that can get.
Sleep improves immune function: there are times you feel a little ill and all your body needs is just a day or two off for some good sleep and relaxation. When you sleep your body produces certain proteins called cytokines, some of which help fight infection and inflammation. Sleep deprivation can reduce the production of those proteins which in turn makes you susceptible to colds and other infections.
Now that you know, you shouldn’t feel guilty when your body cries out for sleep in the middle of the day, take the nap because you are just doing yourself a favour by gratifying it.
What to do when you can’t sleep
It can be frustrating when you need to sleep but the sleep just won’t come. Some disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia may be responsible for your inability to sleep. If you have a sleep disorder you may need to talk to your doctor to prescribe medication or some corrective measure but if your lack of sleep is not related to any of these, there are certain things you can do to get to sleep.
Stop thinking too much about it: it sounds off right? When you overly think about something it just makes it a lot difficult to do. if you find yourself in this situation don’t stress about not sleeping try to distract yourself by thinking of something else or doing something interestingly boring.
There was a day I couldn’t sleep and a friend just advised that I turn off the light and burn my incense. I like to burn incense, by the way, I know I woke up at about 6:am but I don’t know how I slept. Some fragrances are known to have aromatic effects that calm the body and helps you sleep better. So, get yourself some incense, air fresheners, scented candles with aromatic effects, lavender oil, or some live lavender flower.
Take out electronics with a bright screen: I like to watch movies on my phone when I’m trying to fall asleep or finish some work on my laptop. Taking out electronics is not literal perse, when you need to use your electronics, just like I do, simply dim the light or turn on dark mode on your device. Most websites and apps have a dark mode that you can easily turn on. Blue lights from phones and laptops block the production of the melatonin hormone that controls sleep. So, as much as you can, reduce contact with blue light both at daytime and night because it can affect your sight.
If you regularly have to look for sleep every night you should begin to do some active workouts: I noticed that whenever I work out at night, my body gets so tired and I sleep so well those nights. Also, fill your day with activities. If you noticed, during the lockdown almost everyone you know was sleeping late because no one really had activities that tired them out or activities to look forward to the next day. As much as you can, get active because it makes your body want to relax at night.
They say successful people are successful because they sleep less and work more. Don’t be tricked into believing that a lack of sleep will make you successful. When it’s time to work get up and work because it’s pointless staying awake when you have absolutely nothing to do. You should also avoid caffeine and too many sweets because they can inhibit sleep.
Sleep is essential for people of all ages, get a minimum of six hours of sleep. This may be difficult in certain cities like Lagos and other metropolises but as often as you can, grab a few minutes of sleep whenever your body signals you that you need to sleep or make up for it during the weekends.