Research shows quality sleep is a must for health and performance. Unfortunately, our modern all-connected lifestyles have caused constant stress and an inability to relax. The overwhelming screen-time has created dysfunctional sleep patterns and without sleep, our brains and bodies cannot recover, survive, or thrive.
Diving Deeper Into the Need for Deep Sleep
Multiple studies confirm that sleep deprivation affects life expectancy and day-to-day wellbeing. Lack of sleep leaves us feeling physically and mentally exhausted while also reducing our ability to fight illnesses, build lean muscle, repair cells, and improve cardiorespiratory health.
Hours of sleep are not as important as the quality of our sleep which means a consistent cycle of deep, uninterrupted sleep is the goal. When we constantly think late into the evening of gathered stress from the previous day or what is to come tomorrow, we can find it hard to fall asleep, and wake up too often during the night.
The pattern of unmanaged stress and associated disruption of sleep can lead to a dangerous cycle that will affect physical, cognitive, and emotional health. The negative effects of sleep deprivation on the brain can ruin your social and work life as you become less able to manage people and life stressors.
Strategies to Enhance Your Sleep
Normalizing sleep patterns do not necessarily require outside assistance. Something as simple as consistently following a set of guidelines for sleep hygiene can make the difference but the habits will take some focused time and effort. With all the distractions and constant tasks we have today, it can be a challenge to add something to your life and stick to it.
Changing old habits for new ones that support good sleep hygiene for better health and performance doesn’t have to be another stress in your life. To help you make the transitions needed for better sleep, we’ve prepared mini-goals you can work towards to prevent sleep deprivation while learning new ways to improve sleep quality.
- Limit naps to 30 minutes. Daytime naps can be beneficial to health, but the duration needs to be managed. For the high achievers and people who are very active during the day, a short nap versus a long one can increase energy and stamina to keep up with a busy and active lifestyle without disrupting nighttime sleep.
- Avoid nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. Cease consumption of nicotine, alcohol and caffeine at least 4 hours before bed. Nicotine has been associated with symptoms of insomnia, sleep fragmentation and latency. Alcohol is known to disrupt sleep patterns and the ability to get to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that allows our brains and bodies to recover and regenerate. Caffeine has an effect for approximately 4-6 hours on receptors in our brain that allow us to relax and sleep.
- Optimize your environment. Our nighttime routine plays a huge role in our sleep quality. Digital devices are known stressors of the human brain. Using electronic devices affects our pineal gland’s ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle and helps us have quality sleep. Turn off the electronics at least 2 hours before bed. Better yet, keep electronics out of your cool, dark, bedroom so your environment is optimized for sleep.
To learn more on how to improve sleep quality and how to fight sleep deprivation for better health and performance, reach out to Body Science Therapy & Performance Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The wide selection of services is designed to improve your well-being. Use the online appointment booking or call 905-997-BODY (2639) today.