The link between sleep and health is a necessity that needs thorough examinations. The hustling and bustling of life are making many people ignore this linkage to the extent that some people could go 2 to 3 days without good sleep. Unless this linkage is properly established and understood, the consequences may be more than we can bear.
What is sleep?
Sleep occurs in all animals as a natural activity of the mind characterized by changes in the state of consciousness, relative inhibited sensory activity, where all bodily functioning parts reduced interactions with surrounding.
Why do we sleep?
Sleep is a part of the normal animal functioning activity. Human beings have two states of activities, the wake (conscious) and sleep (unconscious) states. During the waking state, every part of human body is fully engaged in voluntary and involuntary activities. The sleep state is the time for all the working human parts to rest.
Therefore, sleep in humans is an anabolic state for the body to relax and recover from all day’s exertion. The body takes the period of sleep to building up the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular system and tune itself for optimum living in the waking state. Good sleep assists humans with improvements in the body and mind.
How sleep takes place
Neurotransmitters, a nerve-signaling chemical, controls the wake and sleep state in humans by acting on certain nerve cells in the brain to turn on or off sleep or wake state at appropriate times. These nerve cells, also called neurons, in the brain-stem that connects the brain to spinal cord produce serotonin and norepinephrine, helps certain parts of the brain stay active during wake time. Equally, some neurons also in the brain base signals tell the brain when during sleep time to switch off our wake signals.
What sleep do for you
When you follow the natural order of sleep and wake time, we feel well and good. Every sleep time provides an opportunity for your body to relax and refresh in a healthy manner. Sleep helps the cells in your body to maintain an optimum level of activities, and the body can replace dead cells and fine tune our entire body system. Good sleep helps survival in humans as it is in all animals.
What happens when you lack sleep?
Sleep helps your nervous systems work properly. Lack of sleep leaves you feeling drowsy and unable to focus on your work. It impairs your memory and physical performance and reduces your ability to rigorous mental activities. Consistent lack of sleep can lead to mood swing and hallucinations etc. Insufficient sleep or lack of it will affect your normal human activities and may cause further complications in case of illness.
Health experts believe sleep provides neurons and brain the opportunity to adjust and refresh for another day’s rigorous work while you sleep. Without such adjustment, you become sapped of vital energy, which weighs heavily on your performance and may result in your body malfunctioning and may eventually fall ill.
Sleep and growth
There are clinical evidences that good deep sleep helps the growth hormones perform optimally especially in children and young people. It is during this time that the repair of damaged body tissues takes place helping you to heal injuries and be renewed. It is during sleep that body proteins get the necessary conversion to carry out its body building jobs.
How much sleep do you need?
Children and teens need at least 8 – 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Adults need between 7 – 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Note that during sleep, the body assumes automatic renewal process programmed to last the recommended sleep duration each night. When your sleep is truncated, the repair process cannot continue. To use the analogy of antivirus on a computer, when you stop a scanning process, the antivirus is unable to locate and take care of dangerous viruses, malware, and other digital worms on your computer. It is much the same with sleep and body renewal.
Link between sleep and health
While excessive sleepiness is not healthy, not getting the recommended quality nightly sleep can leave you in deep mess. Many odd feelings that you go through daily are connected with your sleep. Lack of good sleep has been fingered to handle depression. Although it may not be immediately manifest, accumulated lack of sleep will turn to become a monster that stand between you and your good health.
The disconnection: causes of lack of sleep
The advent of advancement in human awareness, coupled with ever increasing socioeconomic activities have altered the natural course of events in the wake and sleep arrangement. This alteration even becomes more disturbing with advancement in lighting technology to produce daylight illumination at night.
How to regain normal sleep routine
The importance of sleep and health cannot be overemphasized, but how can you regain your normal sleep routine to guarantee optimum health? When we were babies, we can get the desired sleep because we were not engaged in mundane activities. We were not so responsible as we are as adults. But as we grow older, socioeconomic and general life factors began to stand in our ways to good sleep. Most times, we feel helpless not knowing what to do and how to overcome our lack of sleep. Now, let’s consider a few tips to get us have a good sleep at night.
• Cut back on worries. Social, economic activities are major culprits for less sleep. Disengage from any activity that may cause you to worry, especially don’t don’t bite more than you can chew!
• Keep a regular schedule of activities. There should be time for everything, letting work or other activities eating into your sleep time should be discouraged. When you work, do what you can and leave the rest for the next day.
• Observe healthy lifestyle. Your lifestyle has a way it affects your daily activities. Keep such lifestyle that will promote good sleep at night.
• Make your room comfortable. Make your bedroom very comfortable for you. Think of it as another place for enhanced living. A comfortable bedroom must be quiet, and free of disturbances.
• Avoid distractions. Let your family members understand your decision not to be disturbed while sleeping. All other matters should rest until you are awake.