Sleep quality: What to do to sleep better at night? Good sleep is essential for the health of all human beings. This allows people to rest their minds and refresh their thoughts. Most people don’t give sleep the importance it deserves.
Spending hours in front of a computer, working late into the night, dealing with high levels of pressure and stress, and many other things that we must deal with every day, seriously affect the quality of sleep.
The good news is that with this article, you can learn what to do to sleep better and begin to have a quality of sleep that allows you to stay active during the day and healthy mentally.
But first, what is sleep?
The verb “Sleeping” alludes to what a human being or an animal does when it is in a state of rest that implies the absence of voluntary movements and the suspension of the senses. When sleeping, the person is inactive.
The number of hours a subject should sleep a day to feel good and be healthy varies according to age and other factors. At a general level, we can say that an adult should sleep about eight hours a day. These hours of sleep divide into four or five cycles between ninety-one hundred and twenty minutes.
When sleeping, a person eliminates cellular waste from their brain and consolidates their memory. Sleeping disorders or sleep disorders are the drawbacks that can affect an individual and alter the sleep cycle and vigil.
Sleeping disorders are many, and some of them can have very serious consequences in the subject’s daily life, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is important to note that how they affect the course of sleep is not always direct.
How much sleep do I need?
Sleep is an important factor for health. But for this, you must meet two fundamental conditions: the time you sleep and the quality of the sleep that you have each night. If the quality of sleep is the right one, the time it takes to get a good rest can vary from one person to another. However, even if it is only as an indicator, a specific sleep time associates with the age of each individual so that it covers the needs of the organism, which progressively reduces with age.
In this context, the National Sleep Foundation of the United States has recently published its recommendations on the time each person should sleep attending at the age of it:
- Newborn (0-3 months): they must sleep between 14-17 hours a day, although some consider 11 to 13 hours acceptable. But it should not exceed 18.
- Babies (4-11 months): the sleep time is between 12 and 15 hours. It should not be less than 11-13 hours or exceed 16-18.
- Young children (1-2 years): they should not sleep less than 9 hours and over 15 or 16, so in this case, the daily sleep time recommendation is at 11-14 hours.
- Preschool children (3-5 years): the ideal time dedicated to sleep is 10-13 hours, but it should not be less than 7 or greater than 12.
- School-age children (6-13 years): in this case, the sleep time reduces to 9-11 hours.
- Adolescents (14-17 years old): the most appropriate thing is that they sleep from 8.5 to 10 hours a day.
- Younger adults (18 to 25 years old): the optimal sleep time is 7-9 hours a day.
- Adults (26-64 years): the same range of sleep needs that in the previous case continues.
- Older people (over 65 years old): the healthiest for them is that the dream occupies 7-8 hours a day. However, it is common for sleep quality to decrease.
These are the recommendations but, as the age range increases, many factors can interfere with circadian rhythms (the vigil-sleep cycle) altering both the time dedicated to sleep and the quality of it (REM sleep cycles and Norem sleep).
Factors such as time dedicated to television and other electronic devices, taking stimulating or energy beverages, night study, social activity, uncomfortable bed, rooms that do not meet the conditions of light, temperature, and humidity, the frequent interruptions to go to the bathroom as usual in the elderly, and the list goes on.
Why is good sleep important?
Sleeping well or bad is as important as eating good food. Both at the physical and psychological level, a bad rest has negative consequences on the body and brain, as well as it favors the development of diseases.
At the physical level, “an inadequate night break provokes fatigue, drowsiness, decreased attention and concentration, slowness, and irritability,” explains a couple. At the psychological level, “Chronic derivation of sleep usually promotes the development of diseases such as depression and anxiety,” she adds.
One of the most frequent causes of fragmentation of nocturnal rest, is sleep apnea, “an important risk factor of blood pressure, myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular disease,” says the person responsible for the sleep unit.
“A quality sleep is a continuous sleep, without awakening and fragmentation throughout the night,” says the couple. It is important to assume that the bed is only for sleeping and relaxing. Avoid activities such as watching television or eating in bed. Thus, we can establish a sleep routine that includes habits that favor reconciliation and sleep maintenance.
If you have trouble sleeping, it is advisable to get out of bed and return at 15-20 minutes, “The reason for this is that if you stay in bed awake, not only frustration and nervousness increase, but the brain learns that in bed you can be awake and therefore insomnia amplifies“ declares a couple.
What to do to sleep better at night: Alterations that do not allow sleep
The current life rhythm is very guilty of the increase in these problems in the population. Clear examples of how our habits change are that leisure extends at the expense of sleep times and that mobiles and the like that we use until the last moment of the day. Using electronic devices before going to bed is one of the biggest enemies to sleep well since it causes brain activity that makes it difficult to start the dream, says Dr. Pin.
One of the most serious problems of lack of sleep is that it causes multiple complications in health. Its effects are directly associated with the deterioration of cognitive functions and psychomotor, such as memory, concentration, reasoning, care, and reaction time.
Another disorder that appears with sleep deprivation is a decrease in glucose tolerance, so it has been shown that insomniacs are more prone to diabetes because they can not manage their blood glucose levels. We also know that the lack of sleep favors obesity. All of them are diseases of today’s society that, together with other factors such as diet or sedentarism, are the origin of what we call metabolic syndrome.
How to improve sleep quality?
Take care of the environment: it is important that the room where we sleep has been ventilated and that we do not have noise or luminous stimulation. In fact, it is advisable not to use electronic devices that emit light before the usual sleep schedule.
The temperature is another factor to be considered: “In neutral thermal environments (18-21°C), maximum levels of total sleep time, deep sleep and REM sleep are achieved”.
Improve nutrition: besides avoiding the consumption of substances such as caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine, it is recommended that dinners be light and that are approximately two hours before bedtime.
Perform physical exercise: sedentary lifestyle favors insomnia. However, it is also important to keep in mind that it is not recommended to perform physical activities just before going to sleep, as the organism can reactivate and, therefore, would negatively affect the induction to sleep.
Limit naps to a maximum of 20-30 minutes after food and avoid it if it makes it difficult to sleep at night.
However, there are many people for whom, despite following all these recommendations, it is impossible to sleep well. The current rhythm of life, stress, concerns, even age or menopause, are factors that negatively impact the duration and quality of sleep and, in some cases, affect the production of melatonin by our organism.
What to do to sleep better at night: Conclusions
Now that you know what to do to sleep better, you can improve your sleep quality and ensure optimal performance in your day-to-day life and be successful.