Most people would think of sleep as a passive and motionless part of our everyday lifes. However, science has shown that our brains are actually very active during sleep. Health and lifestyle advocates around the world agree that we all need a good night’s sleep to feel and perform at our peak everyday. So what is the optimum hours of sleep for an individual?
Well, the rule of thumb according to various sleep associations, is 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Now, of course the number of hours of sleep each of us require each night will differ from one individual to another. There are people who can get by with just 4-5 hours of sleep but these people are few and far between. For the majority of us, the 7-8 hours of sleep rule does apply. Musicians, athletes and other high performance individuals are known to require more sleep to sustain peak performance and condition.
Perhaps the most important aspect of sleep, is the quality of sleep that each person gets per session. 6 hours of restful, quality sleep is significantly better than 8 hours of “tossing and turning” and interrupted sleep. Therefore, a good night’s sleep should be determined by the amount of restful, and uninterrupted sleep that a person gets during a sleep session.
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea can affect the restfulness of ones sleep and in the long run lead to sleep fragmentation. Lack of quality sleep can have adverse effects on a person’s daily life, including productivity, physical vitality, focus, learning difficulties, mental sharpness, emotional balance, creativity and a myriad of other health issues.
Poor sleeping habits can create an unhealthy bedtime routine. Moreover, certain foods, medication, smoking and alcohol can affect our ability to fall asleep and get a truly restful sleep session. Research has shown that there is a noticeable correlation between stress and restless sleep. Stress in our daily lifes play a major role in depriving us off valuable sleep. Controlling the stress in our lifes and creating a suitable bedtime routine can alleviate restless sleep and help promote deeper sleep.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night allows the body to recharge and prepare for our waking lifes and activites. Sleep not only improves overall well-being but also helps to strengthen the body’s immune system so it can more effectively deal with sicknesses and aid in faster injury recovery. Studies conducted in various countries have noted increased longevity rates in people who get adequate amounts of sleep compared to those who don’t.
Good health promotes good sleep and vice versa. Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding excessive oily or unhealthy foods trigger the bodies natural sleeping tendencies. Regular exercise also helps with relaxing the mind and body during sleep time and allowing the body to prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Creating a regular exercise routine based on exercises you enjoy can not only be a fun and safe way to incorporate exercise for people who are generally not so active but also help in reducing everyday stress and promote a healthier lifestyle. There is no need to run marathons or do incredibly heavy and strenuous workouts. Research has shown that just 20-30 mins of exercises ranging from brisk walking, jogging, swimming or any form of cardio exercices; three to fours times a week can be beneficial to the body.