What Is Sleep Exactly, And How Does It Help Us Stay Healthy?
If you want to stay healthy, sleep is vital—and a study by a leading medical journal proves it. Many people who sleep well tend to feel better and have more energy throughout the day, but they might wonder exactly why they feel so good when they’re asleep.
It’s no secret that a healthy lifestyle is one of the key pillars to achieving optimal wellness. With that said, sleep is another essential component of a healthy lifestyle, and while some people think they have enough sleep, others often struggle to get the sleep they need. In fact, studies show that sleep is essential for proper immune function, growth and development, mood, memory, hormonal health, and so much more.
According to Dr. Jonathan Ruben Goins, the founder of Atlas Chiropractic Clinic, a leading Chiropractor in the Philippines, sleep is essential for maintaining our overall health. It helps us feel energetic, focused and productive.
What is sleep, exactly, and how does it help us stay healthy?
Sleep is a state of altered consciousness where we have minimal interactions with our environment and are relatively still and quiet. It’s often accompanied by a decrease in body movements and heart rate.
Contrary to our quiet physical state, the brain is very active during sleep, carrying out many important functions.
It is crucial that you get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for every function of the body, from our physical to our mental functions. When we sleep, our bodies do a number of important things.
Sleep is really interdisciplinary because it touches every area of health.
Why We Need Sleep
Many people still don’t realize that getting less sleep than our bodies need is linked to many different problems. One of these problems is weight gain, specifically around the midsection. Sleep loss can affect appetite, the hormone leptin (which signals the brain about energy levels), and cortisol (a stress hormone).
Sleep deprivation also leads to increased stress hormones, which leads to an increase in insulin. Insulin is the hormone that tells cells to store fat. The effect is a vicious cycle that can lead to weight gain.
Sleep plays a big part in helping us function optimally. It improves our memory and makes us more alert, focused, and creative.
Sleep is important for all parts of your body, and it is especially important for your kids as their bodies and minds develop. Children who don’t get enough sleep or have poor-quality sleep tend to have higher rates of challenging behaviors, poorer capacity for learning and retaining new information, and a greater propensity for picking up bad eating habits and weight gain.
How Long Should We Sleep
The optimal amount of sleep you need to stay healthy varies based on several factors, including age, sex, and weight. For children, the recommended sleep duration is 12 hours.
Adults need approximately eight hours of sleep a night. If you’re looking for tips on how to stay healthy while sleeping, there are many things that can help, including drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol. Here’s a look at how much sleep you should be getting, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Sleep Deprivation & Its Effect on Health
You’ve heard the saying, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Sleep deprivation is something that many people overlook in terms of its influence on health. Sleep deprivation is actually associated with obesity and diabetes, which is why people are so hungry when they’re tired.
It has been proven that lack of sleep can also affect the immune system. When we don’t get enough sleep, the body produces higher levels of insulin. The body has difficulty responding to insulin because the cells are too sleepy.
So when we don’t get enough sleep, we tend to overeat because our bodies are craving carbohydrates and other foods that are easily digested, which causes weight gain and other physical changes.
Impact of Poor Sleep on Well-Being
If you’ve been sleeping poorly for any amount of time, it can affect every aspect of your life. People who sleep poorly often have trouble concentrating, are irritable, have trouble thinking clearly, and are more likely to experience depression. When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s hard to make decisions, and you are more likely to make mistakes and be less productive.
There is no shortage of data that shows that lack of sleep can hurt your health. We’re talking about sleep deprivation, which means not getting the proper amount of restorative sleep, not just feeling tired all the time.
People who get less than five hours of sleep a night are 20% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and accidents such as car crashes, falls, and burns. A study in The Lancet found that people who reported not sleeping enough had a 45% increased risk of death within 10 years, and a 50% increased risk after 10 years.
How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
We all want to be healthier and more productive at work and in our personal lives. But, how much sleep do we really need to feel our best? According to Dr. Jonathan Ruben Goins, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Getting too little sleep may cause you to lose your appetite, get moody, become forgetful and irritable, and even increase your risk of heart disease. Not getting enough sleep can affect your overall performance and productivity in the workplace.
Sleep Disorders & Sleep Hygiene
There are many common sleep disorders that are related to sleeping improperly or too little. But, if you aren’t getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, there are other steps you can take to help improve your sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation says that, “the quality of your sleep is the most important factor influencing your ability to function throughout the day.” Some tips include keeping your bedroom dark and implement the right hygiene, turning off all cell phones and electronic devices, drinking plenty of water, exercising 30 minutes a day, taking a hot shower or bath, and using relaxation techniques before bedtime.
Common Sleep Disorders
Here are the three main sleep disorders: insomnia, restless leg syndrome (RLS), and sleep apnea. Insomnia means you don’t fall asleep at night. This may be due to the lack of deep relaxation, or it could be because you’re trying to sleep in the wrong time period. RLS is a condition that causes leg pain, or discomfort, at night. Often, the discomfort is worse at night. You can get rid of it by wearing special socks, which are designed to relax your legs.
Insomnia affects over one in ten people globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that insomnia costs $5 billion in annual healthcare costs. A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation reported that over half of Filipino adults sleep less than 6 hours per night, and two thirds report being bothered by insomnia at least a few nights per week.
The most common types of insomnia include primary insomnia, characterized by difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and secondary insomnia, characterized by a lack of refreshing daytime wakefulness.
Medications that Affect Sleep
There are a lot of things that affect our sleep cycles. The circadian rhythms of light, food, and other factors are all affected by many things. But the one that has been the most misunderstood is that of the medication we take to help us sleep.
The most common medication for sleep disorders is Ambien. Ambien is the only approved sleep aid in the United States that is safe for driving. The reason is that it doesn’t cause drowsiness or impair coordination while you’re asleep. However, it may cause confusion and impair your memory the next day. So if you use Ambien to help you sleep, make sure you don’t drive after taking it. And it’s also important to note that Ambien can cause nausea, dry mouth,
Common Sleep-Affecting Medications
What are some of the common sleep-affecting medications that are prescribed? Antihistamines, anti-anxiety agents, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, stimulants, hypnotics/sedatives, and opiates.
Side Effects of Sleep Medications
Side Effects of Sleep Medications can cause drowsiness while others cause vivid nightmares and even hallucinations. Others can lead to depression, anxiety, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and addiction. There are also some drugs that affect the heart, blood pressure, and liver. Talk to your physician to see if any of these medicines may be affecting your sleep.
Homeopathic Remedies for Insomnia
One of the best ways to improve sleep patterns is to practice self-care. According to Dr. Jonathan Ruben Goins, homeopathy provides powerful, safe, and effective alternatives to medications that can be effective in many cases.
A combination of chiropractic care and two homeopathic remedies can help support the body’s natural ability to heal itself. These remedies include: Lachesis – To treat acute insomnia, aching in the back and sides, as well as anxiety. Sanguinaria – For those suffering from chronic insomnia who are prone to headaches and migraines.
Natural Treatments for Insomnia
Dr. Dr. Jonathan Ruben Goins found that over half of his patients suffered from chronic insomnia. Insomnia is often accompanied by other health conditions, but chiropractic care has been shown to provide relief from both insomnia and chronic pain. It is a safe, low risk, natural alternative to help address sleep difficulties. Chiropractic care involves manipulation of the spine, known as spinal adjustment, and pressure on the nerve endings to relax the muscles.
Sleep is necessary for good health, and sleep deprivation can lead to health problems such as fatigue, depression, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, infertility, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Lack of sleep can also negatively affect the immune system and increase the risk of accidents. Most importantly, lack of sleep can significantly impair learning and memory. So sleep is vital for our overall health, yet many people don’t seem to have enough of it.
Sleep is not merely a passive activity. The quality and quantity of sleep we get has an effect on our metabolism, immune system, and even brain health. Our lives revolve around sleeping: at night we turn on our lights, set our alarms, go to bed, and fall asleep. We wake up when the alarm goes off and start the day. On the other hand, we get up in the morning, take a shower, brush our teeth, eat breakfast, get dressed, go to work, and end the day.
In between all of these activities, we usually go through a number of changes in our internal states and external environment, such as fatigue, stress, hunger, thirst, and pain. Each of these affects us differently and changes our mood. Most people are not aware that sleep helps them manage all of these changes and make better decisions while awake.
Learn more about sleep by reading this blog.
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