Sleep has a profound effect on our health due to the complex chemistry going on in our bodies while we rest. These changes allow the body regain vitality, enabling us to feel refreshed and energized when we wake. A lot takes place in the body during sleep which is yet to be fully understood, but, when leveraged the right way, sleep can improve your quality of life immensely. Let’s look at three things to note about sleep and our productivity:

People sleep differently: It’s the conventional recommendation that we get at least 8 hours of sleep daily. However, some people get by with lesser hours of sleep without symptoms of sleep deprivation. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our sleep health remains an essential question throughout our life. In general, women require about 20 more minutes of sleep than men do and they also tend to be more vulnerable than men when it comes to sleep disorders and the health risks associated with lack of sleep. Whether the sleep issues are manifesting themselves in a man or woman, the key here is to develop healthy sleep habits tailored to your situation.

Know some good sleep habits for your productivity: Your sleeping habits will be guided by your age, health and personal level of activity. It is worthwhile that you make out time to understand what works best for you. There are science-backed simple habits that help with getting good sleep:

  • Stick to a Schedule: Do your best to be consistent with your sleep/wake cycle (also called your circadian rhythm). This is arguably more important than how long you sleep. Go to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. When you stick to a sleep schedule, even if you choose to have short naps mid-day, you will feel amazing throughout the day as your circadian rhythm will be set and you’ll be able to keep it consistent.
  • Pay Attention to Foods and Drinks: Be mindful not to go to bed too stuffed as digesting food can make for a less restful night. on the other hand, hunger pangs can wake you up and interrupt your sleep. Make a conscious effort to take a healthy meal three plus hours before bedtime and do stay away from alcohol or stimulants – caffeine in coffee, tea, chocolates and even some pain relievers, at least several hours before you go to sleep.
  • Learn to Relax at Bedtime: Relaxation is vital in order to fall asleep faster, create a before bedtime routine, take a warm shower (the rise and fall in body temperature can prepare you to snooze), drinking a glass of cold water, practice simple relaxing exercises, dim the lights and listen to calming music. Try doing something regularly in the hour before bed that your brain will associate with sleep.
  • Be conscious of where you sleep: Some people sleep directly on the ground, others sleep on beds. Some sleep with blankets, some with pillows, some with simple headrests, some with no head support. These choices are shaped by a variety of factors. However, it’s best you sleep in maximum comfort in a place quiet, dark and cool. Your brain doesn’t turn off when you go to sleep. We are still sensitive to noise, light and other stimuli, so turn off bright overhead lights. If it’s too hard to turn off lights or screens completely, at least dim them to prep your body for sleep.

Know some quick fixes for lack of sleep: In dire situations or extreme circumstances where sleep cannot be achieved continuously, research on napping show that 10/20-minute naps at regular intervals during the day can help relieve some of the sleep deprivation and thus maintain performance for several days. However, researchers caution that levels of performance achieved using these short naps to temporarily replace normal sleep are always well below that achieved when fully rested. Sleep disorders should be discussed with a qualified healthcare provider.

Ultimately, sleep is essential to our wellbeing. There is substantial research into the diverse purposes and mechanisms of sleep. Sleep seems to assist with improvements in the body and mind. Without consistent, good quality sleep, many physical and psychological health issues can arise. Good sleep is the key to – longer lifespan, improved memory, reduced inflammation, slower aging, increased stamina, increased immunity, and much more. Taking the time to understand the best sleeping habits and practices that work best for you is worthwhile.

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