When I say “healthy lifestyle” I’m sure you think “eating healthy and exercise”.
But, have you thought about sleep?
In case you haven’t heard, sleep is crucial for your health. Luckily, people are starting to notice the importance of a good quality sleep (healthy sleep cycle) and its clear benefits for health outcomes. And still, the lack of sleep is one of the major concerns in today’s society.
- suffer from sleep deprivation or occasional insomnia
- feel that you’re sleeping hours are not enough
- not recovering after a workout or not building muscle
This article is for you.
What is the Sleep Cycle?
Sleep is not uniform. Your total sleep is made up of several rounds of the sleep cycle. A full sleep cycle occurs about every 90 minutes.
Each cycle consists of 4 stages:
> Stage 1: the “dozing off” stage (NREM1)
> Stage 2: Light sleep (NREM2)
> Stage 3: deep sleep. It’s in this stage that GH secretion occurs. (NREM3)
> Stage 4: Rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, generally when dreaming occurs
If numerous full cycles of sleep aren’t attained most nights, GH secretion can diminish and influence physical and mental restoration.
Why is sleep so important?
Basically, because it is essential for your survival. If you don’t eat well you can still expect to live around 75 years, but if you don’t sleep you will likely check out in a couple of weeks.
Good sleep is important for both physical and mental health, improving productivity and overall quality of life.
While sleeping we enter in a state of relaxation, and our body accelerates its recovery by building tissue and restoring immune and hormone functions among others.
Sleep improves hormone balance and can result in easier weight control, less stress, and better glucose control.
5 Sleep Facts (that you probably didn’t know)
- The average adult gets about 7 hours of sleep per night. 33% of the population gets fewer than 6.5 hours per night.
- Women sleep a bit more than men
- Those who carry high amounts of body fat tend to sleep less than those with a normal body fat.
- People who sleep fewer than 6 hours per night gain almost twice as much weight over a 6-year period as people who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.
- Excessive sleep isn’t necessarily better: those who sleep more than 9 hours per night have similar body composition outcomes as those who sleep less than 6 hours.
So, how much sleep should I get?
|Age Range||Recommended hours of sleep|
|0-3 months||14-17 hours/day|
|4-11 months||12-15 hours/day|
|1-2 years old||11-14 hours/day|
|3-5 years old||10-13 hours/day|
|6-13 years old||9-11 hours/day|
|14-17 years old||8-10 hours/day|
|18-64 years old||7-9 hours/day|
|65 or more years old||7-8 hours/day|
Most people say they “sleep 7-8 hs” but, is this quality sleep?
What’s a healthy sleep cycle?
While sleep duration is undoubtedly important, it’s not the only part of the equation. It’s also critical to think about sleep quality and whether the time spent sleeping is actually restorative.
A key step is to focus on improving your sleep hygiene, which refers to your sleep environment (mattress, pillow, sheets, etc.) and sleep-related habits. Achieving a more consistent sleep schedule, getting natural daylight exposure, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and eliminating noise and light disruptions can help you get uninterrupted sleep and promote proper alignment of your circadian rhythm.
Finally, having a consistent sleep routine (going to bed and getting up at the same time each day) can cue the SCN and allow for a deep, regular sleep pattern.
Nowadays, it is very common that people find it hard to relax at night. If you are one of those, you can try natural sleep support as herb-based sleeping pills (which you can get here).
Magnesium also helps with muscle relaxation and relieves anxiety which can interfere with your sleep. If you want try magnesium, please check with your nutritionist or GP first, as it may not be safe for people who take certain diuretics, heart medications or antibiotics.
If you find that you are constantly overtired or sleepy, or suspect that you might have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible.
Questions? Please leave your comment below 😉
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