If you are wondering whether you are getting enough sleep, including quality sleep, ask yourself:Do you have trouble getting up in the morning?Do you have trouble focusing during the day?Do you doze off during the day?If you answered yes to these three questions, you should work on improving your sleep.

Sleep:

Sleep is a complex biological process that helps you process new information, stay healthy, and feel rested. While you are sleeping, you are unconscious, but your brain and body functions are still active.

During sleep, your brain cycles through five stages: stage 1, 2, 3, 4, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Different things happen during each stage. For example, you have a different pattern of brain waves during each one. Your breathing, heart, and temperature may be slower or faster in some stages.

Certain phases of sleep help you:

  • Feel rested and energetic the next day.
  • Learn information, get insight, and form memories.
  • Give your heart and vascular system a rest.
  • Release more growth hormone, which helps children grow. It also boosts muscle mass and the repair of cells and tissues in children and adults.
  • Release sex hormones, which contributes to puberty and fertility.
  • Keep from getting sick or help you get better when you are sick, by creating more cytokines (hormones that help the immune system fight various infections).

You need all of the stages to get a healthy sleep. As people age, however, they often get less sleep or they tend to spend less time in the deep, restful stage of sleep. Older adults are also more easily awakened.

And it’s not just the number of hours of sleep you get that matters. The quality of the sleep you get is also important. People whose sleep is frequently interrupted or cut short might not get enough of certain stages of sleep.

Sound sleep is must to be energetic the whole day
Stages of Sleep

How much sleep do you need?

Sleep required according to age group
Sleep required according to age group
Improper sleep can even lead to depression
Improper sleep can even lead to depression
Include more protein in your diet
Include more protein in your diet

The amount of sleep you need depends on several factors, including your age, lifestyle, health, and whether you have been getting enough sleep recently. The general recommendations for sleep are:

  • Newborns: 16-18 hours a day
  • Preschool-aged children: 11-12 hours a day
  • School-aged children: At least 10 hours a day
  • Teens: 9-10 hours a day
  • Adults (including older adults): 7-8 hours a day

What are the health effects of not getting enough sleep?

Sleep is important for overall health. When you don’t get enough sleep (sleep deprivation), it does more than just make you feel tired. It can affect your performance, including your ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. This may cause you to make bad decisions and take more risks. People with sleep deprivation are more likely to get into accidents or tend to overeating.

Sleep deprivation can also affect your mood, leading to:

Irritability

Problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers

Depression

Anxiety

It can also affect your physical health. Research shows that not getting enough sleep, or getting poor-quality sleep, increases your risk of:

High blood pressure

Heart disease

Stroke

Kidney disease

Obesity

Type 2 diabetes

Relation between sleep deprivation and cravings:

Sleep deprivation leads to overeating and increased cravings

Have you ever noticed that you feel hungrier or have uncontrollable cravings for certain foods after a poor night’s sleep? It’s not just your imagination—there’s a link between sleep and hunger.

Studies show that even a single night of sleep deprivation changes the levels of our hunger and appetite hormones, leading to increased hunger. It also affects the way your brain’s motivation centers respond to the sight (or even the thought) of food.

Sleep loss changes the timing and release of appetite-controlling hormones. The stomach secretes a hormone called ghrelin that tells the brain you’re hungry. During sleep deprivation, ghrelin gets released in larger amounts. As the stomach fills, the body releases the satiety hormone leptin to start appetite suppression. However, during sleep deprivation, leptin gets released in smaller amounts. With the changes in ghrelin and leptin levels, not only do you feel hungrier but once full, your body doesn’t recognize that it’s time to stop eating. The combination of increased hunger with decreased satiety leads to overeating and unwanted weight gain.

Hormone release isn’t the only way that sleep loss changes appetite. Without adequate rest, cookies, candy, and other high-fat, sugary foods become more appealing because of changes in the rewards center of the brain.

How to combat cravings?

Getting more sleep can reduce food cravings

Sleeping enough I.e. according to recommendations (7-8 hours for adult) can suppress your cravings followed by mindful eating or less and thereby resulting in weight loss or weight management.

Another ways to avoid food cravings and sugar cravings are as follows:-

  • Drink more water
  • Eat more protein
  • Plan your meals
  • Avoid getting extremely hungry
  • Practice mindful eating
  • Fight stress
Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
Avoid sugary foods
Follow your hobbies to be stress free

How can you get better sleep?

Allow enough sunlight exposure in house.
Don't take a nap after 3 pm

You can take steps to improve your sleep habits. First, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep. With enough sleep each night, you may find that you’re happier and more productive during the day.

To improve your sleep habits, it also may help to:

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day

Avoid caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening

Avoid nicotine

Exercise regularly, but don’t exercise too late in the day

Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed

Avoid large meals and beverages late at night

Don’t take a nap after 3 p.m.

Relax before bed, for example by taking a bath, reading or listening to relaxing music

Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool

Get rid of distractions such as noises, bright lights, and a TV or computer in the bedroom. Also, don’t be tempted to go on your phone or tablet just before bed.

Get enough sunlight exposure during the day

Don’t lie in bed awake; if you can’t sleep for 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing

See a doctor if you have continued trouble sleeping. You may have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. In some cases, your doctor may suggest trying over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid. In other cases, your doctor may want you to do a sleep study, to help diagnose the problem.

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