Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.
What is sleep and why should it hold significant importance to you?
Sleep refers to a recurring state of mind and body characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of voluntary muscles and reduced interactions with surroundings. For mammals, sleep occurs in repeated periods, the body alternates between two modes namely non–REM and REM sleep which stands for rapid eye movement.
Sleep patterns vary among individuals but even more widely among other species, for example rodents are nocturnal while animals like bears are diurnal. Vast studies on the subject of sleep have occupied the modern world with interest on the purpose and mechanisms of sleep.
Sleep Survey in Nairobi
Closer home, we are fascinated with the functions of sleep and how it affects us on an individual level creating a ripple effect on all aspects of our daily lives. So, are we getting enough sleep? This was the question asked when Isamado Homecare took on the endeavor to find out the sleep patterns of people living in Nairobi. In the month of October 2016, a survey was carried out with approximately 900 taking part to give insight into their habits when it comes to sleeping. What was the result you wonder; we will explore this and much more as we go through this article.
It will surprise you to know that, based on our sample size; most people are not getting enough sleep with more than half the population sleeping less than the recommended hours. The final results of the survey revealed some shocking facts:
With the results above in mind, there are questions that come up in relation to what your sleeping patterns says about you. According to this survey, only 32 percent are keeping to the recommended hours meaning that, everyone else is either not getting enough or are simply indulging too much. What then are the recommended hours for enough sleep or is it possible to sleep too much and how do you ensure you are keeping to healthy sleep habits and patterns.
Effects of lack of sleep
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? The effects range from being excessively exhausted to increased risk to development of heart disease and obesity. Think of it this way, the brain is the powerhouse that runs your body, sort of like an industry controlling all functions and for it to run at optimum capacity, it needs to recharge every now and then. If sleep is cut short the body doesn’t have time to complete all the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite; you may wake up less prepared to concentrate or make decisions. Furthermore, lack of adequate sleep leads to a myriad of negative effects; it affects your health and could lead to development of type 2 diabetes by changing the way your body processes glucose, sleep deprivation makes you irritable and chronic sleep debt can lead to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression among others. The bottom line is, when you don’t sleep well, you don’t live well.
Sleep architecture follows alternating patterns of REM and non REM throughout a typical night which repeats itself about every 90 minutes. For 75 percent of the night, your body is in non REM sleep which is composed of four stages. Stage one consists of light sleep, stage two is the onset of sleep where we become disengaged from our surroundings; three and four entail the most involving part of sleep with tissue growth, growth hormone release, muscle relaxation and energy restoration. REM sleep which takes up 25 percent first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep recurring every 90 minutes getting longer later in the sleep cycle; REM provides energy to the body.
Tips – getting enough sleep
The recommended hours for adequate sleep are 7 – 9 hours each night, as explained above, these are far from unproductive and directly translate to how successful we ultimately are while awake. There are simple ways to improve your sleep habits ultimately contributing to a healthier and happier lifestyle. It is essential that if you can, get enough hours in a night to recuperate and rest, if it proves hard apply these handy tips to go to sleep.
For a start, establish a routine of the same bedtime and wake up time even over the weekend as this will regulate your body’s internal clock, while you are at it; develop a relaxing bedtime ritual to practice. Live a healthy lifestyle void of cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine which can disrupt sleep as well as avoiding heavy meals which may cause indigestion. It’s always a good idea to wind down before bedtime so your body can shift into sleep mode, find an activity that will calm you down and put electronics away to ensure that the light emanating from the screen is not activating your brain, and make sure to always sleep in total darkness.
In the search for a better night’s sleep, evaluate your home; the environment you live in should consist of conditions that allow for rest and relaxation. Try to imagine this, you’ve had a long day full of presentations at work and managing the crises that occur like the flat tyre you had on your way to that important meeting with the CEO; After that arduous day you finally get home, at last you can relax but wait, the house is a mess… dishes in the sink, clothes all over the bed and the toys you have to collect after putting the babies to sleep. Alright, you hurriedly put everything together and jump into the newly made bed to drift off into slumber land then just as you are about to get there it hits you, the dishes are still in the sink and you lose your acquired peace of mind. In order to live a stress free life when it comes to the care of your home, enlist the services of a homecare company. A professional homecare company comes into your living space and is able to assess the needs for a spotless, stylish and serene home. Once you have a reliable team on your side they can cater to the laundry, extensive home cleaning and personalised house care through offering of professional maids to care for your haven as you would and even go the extra mile. With the hassle of handling your home eased, it allows you to relax and therefore live a hassle free life that will allow you to stay well rested.
For your bedroom, keep the temperature cool at about 18 degrees; keep the room free or noise and distraction. Ultimately, be comfortable; make sure your mattress has sufficient support with your pillows being aired out often and all items professionally cleaned by your team of expert cleaners to reduce the risk of exposure to allergens that could adversely affect your health.
With the above knowledge you are equipped enough to understand the importance of adequate sleep and the relation it holds towards a more productive life.