Sleeping is something that a lot of us overlook. It’s what we do when we feel tired at the end of the day and sometimes, we even do it during the day through naps. But sleeping is much more than just resting your eyes; sleeping has a lot more benefits than we think and helps us function regularly and healthily, so we are able to work, exercise, socialise and complete our day-to-day routines. Did you know we spend about one-third of our lifetime sleeping? While we often hear that we should get 8 hours of sleep every night, it’s time to dig deeper and understand why it’s important to sleep and how sleep deprivation truly affects us.
First and foremost, we have to understand what sleep is, what happens when we sleep and why we need it. Essentially, there are many elements of our brain that are involved when we sleep. These include the hypothalamus, brain stem, thalamus, pineal gland, basal forebrain and the amygdala. While we don’t bore you with the scientific details, each and every one of these structures play and important role when it comes to the two types of sleeping stages we go through.
The two sleep types are Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (non-REM). Non-REM involves the process from being awake to being asleep and this period can last many minutes as we experience our breathing slow, our muscles relaxing, and our overall body start to calm due to our switch in state. REM sleep typically occurs after 90 minutes of non-REM sleep have passed and this is the stage where most people have dreams as their eyes start to rapidly move and your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure increase.
How Much Sleep is Recommended?
Like we stated earlier, the standard recommended hours of sleep are 8 hours. While this is recommended for adults, the number of hours sleep we need varies depending on the individual and age. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, babies typically can sleep up to 18 hours a day, children and teens need around 9.5 hours and after we reach the age of 60, the hours we need to sleep varies incredibly due to medication, health issues and having our sleep interrupted due to our sleep being lighter.
Importance of Quality Sleep And What Happens if We Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Having good quality sleep can be more beneficial than keeping you from dozing off while you’re at work. Sleeping allows your body to heal any damaged cells, increases productivity, regulates brain plasticity, improves your metabolism, lowers the risk of obesity, improves cardiovascular health, enhances physical activity, improves immune function and much more. It’s imperative for children to help them grow and allow their brains to develop properly, helps us learn as we age and also just keeps a steady routine when we’re older.
Sleep can also affect our mood, how our body functions and throw off our routine. Certain disorders can also in turn affect how we sleep. Talking about mental health is becoming more and more the norm, and it’s always a good idea to check in on your mates to see how they’re going every now and again.
A Mental Health Letter published by Harvard Health Publishing states that up to “90% of adult patients with major depression… experience some kind of sleep problem” and that people with ADHD, anxiety and bipolar also suffer from sleep problems. Not only this, in a study published in 2019, researchers concluded that an irregularity of sleep patterns and duration was associated with metabolic abnormalities which then affected their lifestyle and had influence on other health risks such as mental function, obesity and diabetes.
These statistics are only a small snapshot into the adverse effects that sleep deprivation can have on our bodies and lifestyle and reiterate how important it is for us to have regular and quality sleep.
During this pandemic
Especially during this difficult time for many of us, sleep can be an important variable for our mental health when it comes to self-isolating, working from home and a huge change in our daily routines. Making sure you have a solid night’s rest can set you up for a better day and allows you to wake up feeling refreshed, energised and able to carry out your tasks without feeling fatigued.
A lot of people have been doing a lot more self-care during this time and using social media to encourage others to exercise more, take the time to do skin care routines, cook wholesome meals, check in with friends and also just relax and sleep well.
Sleeping well, as we have now explained so far, is vital for our mental health and wellbeing. It’s important to take a step back, be grateful for this down time but also try and see the positives of a negative situation. While it’s more difficult to see our wonderful friends and spend quality time with our loving families, having a good night’s rest can help reduce stress, keep you calm but most importantly function well.
Ways to Create A Healthy Sleep Environment to Ensure A Good Night’s Rest
While some sleep problems arise from disorders or other issues that need medical help, there are some easy ways to help create a healthy sleep environment, so you are giving yourself the best chance of a good night’s rest.
The first and easiest way to do this is to ensure you have comfortable bedding. At Bedworks, we have a huge variety of mattresses, bed frames and other bedroom furniture that can transform your bedroom into a peaceful sanctuary where you can relax and get the best sleep possible. We have hypoallergenic mattress protectors for those that suffer sleeping problems due to hay fever and also stock pillow protectors that are breathable and anti-microbial. Ensuring your bedding is comfortable, soft and fresh are key to having a healthy sleeping environment.
The second way to maintain a healthy sleep environment is to have fresh air and natural light. These two factors can help you breathe easier, cycle out stale air and help you wake up naturally with the sun in the morning.
Another way to ensure you have a good night’s rest is to relax before bed. While it can be tempting to have a cup of tea or browse your social media feeds, caffeine and blue light can disrupt your sleeping patterns and throw off your ability to drift off smoothly. Relaxing with a book, meditating or just practicing controlled breathing can help you wind down and get ready for bed.
At Bedworks, we love being able to offer affordable and stylish products, so our customers feel comfortable and love the space they’re in. As a lot of us are staying at home to try and flatten the curve and do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus, we believe that having a relaxing and beautiful environment can help you be more productive, sleep more comfortably but also just feel happy and content during this difficult time. If you have been meaning to invest in better sleep or want to upgrade your bedroom furniture, contact us today or visit our website to view our full range of products! Stay safe, sleep easy and let’s all overcome this together!