In today’s fast-paced world, it is common for people to sleep for less than the recommended eight hours. We are constantly bombarded with work deadlines; we are up late watching TV, on our phones, social media, video games, or having a few drinks. Many factors influence how much sleep we get, and they must all be taken into account when determining why sleep deprivation has become such a problem in our society. Sleep deprivation can have both short and long-term effects on our bodies, so it is essential to know the stages of sleep and tips on having a good sleep.
Five stages of sleep are all critical for a good night’s rest. The first stage is called “NREM.” In this stage, you’re not fully asleep, and your heart rate slows down. Stage two is the most prolonged NREM state that’s about 90 minutes, also known as “slow-wave” or deep sleep because it has a regular cycle of brain activity that causes slow waves in the EEG. This eventually leads up to REM, which stands for rapid eye movement and where most dreams happen. There’s no muscle movement, except for our eyes twitching, and erratic improper breathing will be happening at this time too.
While we sleep, our bodies perform restorative functions such as muscle growth, tissue repair, and protein synthesis. At this time, growth hormone is replaced, so if you don’t get enough sleep, all of your hard work during workouts will be for naught. As a result, the damaged body tissue necessitates more rest to repair and reap the benefits of the exercise, which explains why you’ve been struggling with your workouts day after day or why you’re always sore and tired. Hence we need a minimum amount of sleep of six hours. This gives us approximately three sleep cycles. Six hours equates 70% recovery, seven hours equates 80% recovery, eight hours equates 90% recovery, and nine hours equates to 100% recovery.
So what happens when we don’t get enough sleep?
It impacts our judgment, mood, ability to learn, focus, and retain information in the short term. Sleep also affects how we look because it causes the body to miss out on hormone control and tissue repair, which occur during the deepest stages of our sleep. It can increase acne, redness, swelling, puffiness, dark circles, eye bags, or more wrinkles. It can also impact your eating habits, causing you to eat less or feel more hungry. When you’re tired, your body craves more of those unhealthy foods like carbs and sugars. Whereas chronic sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in the long run, the body cannot restore itself, resulting in the loss or weakening of your immune system. If it goes too long without sleep, it can lead to death.
So, how do you get the best sleep that you need?
- Stick to a schedule
- Keep your room cool, quiet, and dark
- Exercise regularly
- No electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Comfortable sleeping materials
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it can harm your life in a variety of ways. You may be tired during the day and find it difficult to concentrate on tasks or activities that require your full attention. This can lead to mistakes at work or school, which can cause problems for you later on. In some cases, sleep deprivation can also lead to depression and other mental health problems.
So if you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s critical that you take steps to get things back on track and your quality of life does not suffer. A good night’s sleep helps you repair the mind and body, allowing you to function at your best and setting you up for success.