Good sleep is critical for good health. Insufficient sleep can contribute to a variety of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions, stroke, and many more. The short life span witnessed globally has been closely associated with insufficient sleep.
However, according to the National Sleep Foundation, 22% of Americans have insomnia. The situation is even worse in people aged 65 years and above. Many factors can affect your ability to sleep such as changing hormones due to aging, lifestyle, stressors, chronic pain, food intolerances, and medications.
Surprisingly, lack of sleep may result from something that may have initially helped you sleep – sleeping pills. If you use sleeping pills consistently over a long period of time, the body gets used to them, and they can easily interfere with your sleeping patterns later. However, natural sleep aids such as CBD sleep oil can help you overcome these problems.
How much sleep do you need?
Not all sleep qualifies as the quality of sleep that your body needs. If you have less than seven hours of sleep every night, you are not getting sufficient sleep. Therefore, what is the amount of sleep you need for healthy living?
Babies (age between 4-11months): 12-15 hours Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours School age children (6-1 years): 9-11 hours Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
Adults (18-64 years): 7-9 hours
Elderly (65 years and above): 7-8 hours
People are different, however, and some may need less sleep than others while some may need slightly more than the recommended hours. How do you tell if you are getting sufficient sleep? If you sleep at night but during the day you keep longing for a chance to get a nap, you might not have had enough quality sleep.
What are the possible causes of sleeplessness?
In a hectic world, people often find it difficult to get a good rest at night. Juggling between a myriad of activities can rob you of the time to spend in bed. Sometimes, you may get to bed only to realize that your mind is still busy ruminating on what you did during the day, and getting your mind calmed down to rest becomes a challenge.
Below are some of the things that are likely to cause sleep deprivation;
- Medical conditions
- Substance use
- Shift work
- Stress and anxiety
- Unconducive sleeping environment
- Meeting deadlines
- Sleep disorders such as insomnia, among others.
Why does better sleep mean better health for years to come?
Many people consider having sufficient sleep a luxury reserved for weekends, holidays, and vacations only. While it’s true you only sleep well when your schedule is not jam-packed, you owe it to yourself to ensure your body gets enough sleep. Below are some reasons why having adequate sleep improves your health.
It may prevent diabetes.
According to some studies, there is a strong relationship between diabetes and sleep. A report by the Harvard Medical School indicates that those who sleep for less than five hours every night are at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Sleep has an impact on the body’s sugar levels.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, it is easier for those with sufficient sleep to stay fit than those who don’t. In this regard, the Mayo Clinic explains that the regulation of human hormones takes place mostly when people are asleep. Therefore, insufficient sleep increases your chances of getting hungry and wanting to eat frequently.
Food and water consumption is a delicate balance that needs a lot of management. Anything that offsets the balance can influence your body functioning and general mood. Therefore sleeping habits can significantly affect your eating and appetite.
Sleep influences mental wellbeing
Whenever you have a single sleepless night, your mood is altered. Now, imagine having several nights without sufficient sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation might permanently affect your mood and mental health.
The AARP reports that having sufficient sleep has a positive impact on your brain’s cognitive functioning. It promotes not only mental but also physical health in humans. On the other hand, insufficient sleep leads to impaired attention and incorrect memory. It can also increasecognitive problems in middle-aged people.
Having sufficient sleep allows you to make clearer decisions, focus better, and experience quicker reflexes. Some studies indicate that if you miss out on sufficient sleep regularly, you’re most likely to lose problem-solving ability due to poor reasoning and minimum concentration.
It reduces the risks of developing heart disease.
Heart problems are linked to general human health. People who sleep for less than the recommended time are at risk for developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Also, people who lack enough sleep are likely to become overweight mainly due to their eating habits and troubling metabolic rates.
The general health results of having a night of insufficient sleep, such as the ones mentioned above, increase the chances of developing heart conditions. The risk is even more pronounced for diabetics, people with hypertension, and those who are obese.
Sleeping less is also associated with an increased risk of coronary artery calcification, a condition in which the heart rate is influenced, which could lead to a potential heart attack. And sleep conditions like obstructive sleep apnea can also lead to cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure.
Sleep improves your fertility rate
Some research indicates that lack of sufficient sleep reduces the chances of conception in both men and women. It’s said that women who lack sufficient sleep are 15% less likely to get pregnant compared to those who have enough sleep daily.
Another relationship between fertility and sleep is the mood changes resulting from sleep deprivation. Mood disorders exacerbated by lack of sleep can lead to relationship challenges and reduced sex drive.
Fertility may also be affected due to developing diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and many more, which are influenced by sleep deprivation.
Sleep improves human immunity.
The National Sleep Foundation indicates that, during sleep, the body manufactures cytokines, hormones responsible for fighting infections such as a cold. If you fail to have enough sleep, the system responsible for this is compromised, and therefore, your immunity is likely to be affected.
There are many ways in which insufficient sleep can interfere with your health. Therefore, it’s worth investigating natural sleep aids to assist you in achieving better lifetime health.