The Importance of Sleep and How to Get Enough of It
Sleep is a fundamental need of the body. Since the body is often pushed to its limits on a daily basis, it needs adequate time to recover and rejuvenate. Many of us are guilty of trying to cram in a few extra hours of sleep on the weekends, in an attempt to make up for the loss of sleep that accumulates over the course of busy weekdays. Unfortunately, this method is actually ineffective, as lost sleep can never truly be made up.
A poll conducted by The Sleep Council revealed that only 30% of teens age 12 to 16 got four to seven hours of sleep per night. The Sleep Council surveyed 1,000 teens, with another 25% saying that they fell asleep while watching TV, listening to music, or using some type of electronic device. This is a rather troubling statistic, as sleep is even more important for younger people.
A circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle of something that is alive, such as a human. With the introduction of artificial lights, the body’s circadian rhythm has been severely thrown off. While our bodies usually adjust to the natural cycle of night and day, artificial lights make it rather difficult for the body to function on such a level. Besides confusing your body, exposure to artificial light while sleeping can cause health problems such as constipation, stomach ulcers, depression, and heart disease. Why is this?
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body suppress the production of estrogen, and is also protective against free radicals. With the disruption of your circadian rhythm, your body may end up producing less melatonin. This inhibits your immune system, and your resistance to many types of cancers. Exposure to lights during sleep will disrupt your production of this vital antioxidant. This is the reason that sleeping with the TV on may not be such a great idea, or any electronic device that emits light for that matter.
Due to modern day inventions and our hectic schedules, it is no wonder that the quality and amount of sleep has decayed to such an extent. While it is understandable that our daily lives end up taking a toll on our ability to rest, getting an adequate amount of sleep each night (8-10 hours) is essential to keeping up with your health. If you have trouble sleeping then try turning off all of your lights and electronic devices. Make sure the room is completely dark, so that you cannot see your hand in front of your face. Another excellent way to get better quality sleep is to engage in a workout routine.
Most people benefit the most when it comes to sleep quality from working out in the morning or before dinner, but everyone is different. Experiment with your workout times, and see which is most effective for you. Besides working out, it’s also important to make sure your nutrition is intact. Your body could be in distress due to a mineral deficiency, preventing you from obtaining the quality of sleep you desire. Start taking a powerful multivitamin, and balance your diet with the help of the information on this website.
Natural Society staff contribution