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How important is sleep really? The ultimate guide to sleep!

What really is the importance of sleep? Many people claim that they do not need as much sleep as others, but is it true? We are often more tired and lazy the next day after being deprived of enough sleep, even if we don’t realize it.

However, why can some people be high functioning after only 5 or 6 hours of sleep, whereas others need at least 9 or 10 to feel fully rejuvenated?

Are there health benefits to sleeping longer? Or, is the quality of your sleep more important?

Here, we unpack some of the questions you may have around sleep and address how you can improve your overall cognitive performance by fixing your sleeping patterns.

The Science Behind Sleep

the importance of sleep

What is sleep, and why is it important?

Sleep is an active process that aids in the body’s natural healing and restoration while performing its most important function- storing memories.

The brain goes through a series of cycles, based primarily around two different types of sleep — REM sleep and NREM sleep.

REM stands for rapid eye movement, while NREM stands for non-rapid eye movement.

REM sleep is the period in which dreaming occurs and is a crucial part of getting a good night’s sleep.

During sleep, you typically transition through four different cycles, each of which impact the body in a particular way.

Stage One: 

The first stage is light NREM sleep characterized by drowsiness.  This is– sometimes referred to as “sleep onset.” Stage one lasts about 5 minutes.

Stage one predominates during daytime naps,   as there is often not enough time to reach deeper levels of slumber, as occur during the night.

Stage Two:

The second stage in the sleep cycle is called stage 2 NREM. In stage 2 NREM, the body begins to produce delta waves (the slowest brain waves in the 0.5-4 Hz range). This is the stage of sleep that produces vivid dreams because it comes close to REM in terms of brain activity.

Stage Three: 

The third stage in the sleep cycle is called stage 3 NREM. The deepest sleep occurs during this stage. Blood pressure and breathing rate drop, while the muscles completely relax. Adequate time in stage three is most important for feeling well-rested in the morning. If you feel you did not get a good night’s sleep, it is often due to limited time in the stage 3 NREM sleep cycle.

Stage Four – REM Sleep: 

REM stands for rapid eye movement and is the stage in the sleep cycle where dreaming takes place. The REM portion of sleep usually occurs 90 minutes after falling asleep, and your body goes into a temporary form of paralysis to prevent injury, which may result from involuntary limb flailing in response to vivid dreams.

In this deep but brief stage, the brain becomes more active while the body becomes, even more, relaxed and immobilized. Breathing is faster and irregular while the eyes move rapidly. Emotional processing and memory consolidation also happen during REM sleep. Information is cemented into memory, making this an important stage for learning.

How much sleep do you need?

The amount of recommended sleep varies from person to person, with the average being about eight hours.

It is hard to say how much people need. Factors such as lifestyle, age, fitness level, and medication use will affect individual sleep requirements.

However, there are some basic guidelines for healthy adults to getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Adults aged 18–64 should have at least seven hours on weekdays and nine hours on weekends;
  • Children aged four or five should be getting 11+ hours a night while teenagers can usually last up until midnight before feeling tired in the morning;
  • Newborns will typically only require between 14-17 total hours per day (including daytime naps) as their brains need generous periods of rest.

Benefits of Sleep

There have been countless studies done on the benefits of getting adequate sleep.

Healthier Brain Functioning

Sleeping helps with brain functioning!

In a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, it was found that sleeping is very important for retaining information during the day.

The more sleep you can get at night will lead to higher scores on standardized tests such as GREs or SATs and better performance on memory tasks.

This means that if you want a good grade on an exam tomorrow morning, make sure you go to bed nice and early and get a good night’s sleep.

Mood Boost

Studies have shown that you are much more likely to be happier and more energetic the following day with a good night’s rest! 

Sleep loss and mood disorders are closely related. Sleep is one of the most powerful natural mood stabilizers, so when you don’t get enough sleep, your emotions can be more unpredictable or extreme. Conversely, if depression has altered your sleeping habits, it might adversely affect your mood during waking hours.

When you are sleeping, your brain processes your emotions. The regulating of your emotions is thought to help your brain recognize and react to situations properly. Therefore adequate sleep is need for high emotional intelligence (EQ)!

Increased Energy Levels

Sleep contributes to increased energy levels because it helps your body repair and restores itself.

The lack of sleep can cause a person to be more tired, irritable, apathetic, or lazy. And the longer someone goes without a proper restful sleep, the worse these symptoms get.

This likely seems obvious as you would probably feel so much better if you could catch up on your rest during the day.

Healthier Heart

Many people do not realize that a high quality of sleep can lead to a healthier heart and decrease your chances of heart disease.

Sleep is related to heart health because when you sleep, your body releases growth hormones that help to regulate blood sugar levels and lower the risk of a heart attack.

In addition, people who do not get enough rest have high amounts of stress hormone in their system, which can negatively affect cardiac function.

Weight Control

Sleep also plays a significant role in weight control. Sleep can help regulate your weight because of how it affects the hunger hormones that are released in your body.

A person’s appetite is directly related to their sleep cycle and other bodily functions such as hormone production and metabolism, which can affect weight control.

If you have healthy sleep habits, you are more likely to properly break down the foods and fats consumed throughout the day, while resetting your metabolism for the following day.

People who suffer from sleep deprivation are more likely to experience unexplained weight gain than someone who gets adequate sleep on a nightly basis.

What are the different sleep disorders?

While most people tend to enjoy sleep and find it a period of relaxation, having a sleep disorder can make sleep a nightmarish situation.

With nearly 70 different sleep disorders, and over 40 million people in the United States alone suffering from at least one of these, sleep must be understood and treated accordingly.

Here are some common sleep disorders that can contribute to less sleep and cause sleep deprivation.

Sleep insomnia

Sleep insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. Insomnia is a situation where someone cannot fall asleep even if they feel extremely tired.

If someone is experiencing this, they may have difficulty staying asleep for an extended period or wake up often during the night and be unable to fall back asleep.

This can lead to sleeping either too much in one day or not enough, which causes sleep deprivation by preventing them from getting a solid amount of sleep each night. (Sleep Insomnia)

The most common cause of insomnia is stress. Still, it could also happen because of certain medications and other health conditions such as depression and chronic pain, among many others.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that can hinder the quality and quantity of sleep one has. This disorder disrupts breathing during sleep, which in turn causes people to awaken (at least partially) throughout the night. 

Two main types of sleep apnea can occur:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

OSA is the most common form of sleep disordered breathing. OSA results from a physical blockage in the airway causing obstruction of air flow during sleep. It is most common among those who are overweight or obese, and it primarily affects men, whose average age at diagnosis is 59 years.

  • Central sleep apnea (CSA)

This type of sleep apnea occurs when the brain has difficulty signaling the diaphragm to initiate a breath. Without spontaneous breathing, the affected individual is aroused as oxygen levels drop, resulting in a recurrent gasping for breath throughout their sleeping hours.

These two disorders affect not just an individual’s physical health but their mental state too, leaving them feeling drained from a lack of good restful sleep on a nightly basis.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is another very common type of sleeping condition with symptoms such as extreme tiredness and general daytime fatigue. Narcoleptics are also known to have sudden episodes of falling asleep for short periods at random times during the day or before bedtime.

How can I improve my sleep quality?

If you are constantly having trouble sleeping, there are many things you can do to improve your sleep quality. According to the National Sleep Foundation, one of the best ways to improve your sleep is by monitoring your body temperature before going to sleep.

There are body temperature regulating blankets and mattresses that can greatly help regulate your body temperature.

Some people find that turning down their thermostat too low and wearing a sweater or sweatshirt to bed can help them sleep better. Keeping your bedroom cool will often help you fall asleep faster.

Another way to improve your sleep is through some natural sleep supplements and a healthy diet.

You should also avoid drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea within four hours of going to bed because these drinks are stimulants that may affect how quickly you fall asleep. You could try enjoying herbal teas instead, which have been found to not only make us feel relaxed but can also aid in helping us get quality restful sleep by lowering cortisol.

Omega Oils and improved sleep quality

A great natural sleep supplement that can significantly help increase the quality of your sleep is Omega Oils.

Omega oils can help increase sleep because they are a rich source of Omega-type fatty acids, such as DHA and EPA, which are great for helping to improve sleep quality.

Omega oils can also help you manage stress more effectively because these oils contain high concentrations of anti-inflammatory substances that promote relaxation like melatonin.

Melatonin is an essential hormone in regulating our body’s circadian rhythm or “body clock,” which can help with the same sleep schedule. It helps regulate this process because it controls what time we feel sleepy, making us ready for bedtime at the appropriate time.

If you are looking for a great natural way to help not only improve your quality of sleep and help prevent chronic sleep loss, then I highly recommend the Zinzino Omega oil blend.

The Omega Revolution has begun to spearhead the widespread acceptance and education on the positive impacts these omega oils have on countless health issues, one being improving a lack of sleep.

If you want to purchase your Omega Oils today, click here!

Conclusion:

Sleep is one of the most important parts of being a human being. It can help regulate your body in many ways. It would help if you had a good night’s sleep for your body and mind to function at their best.

Do you want an extra boost of energy? Try taking a nap! A power nap can help increase focus, provide more clarity, and better manage stress levels.

Sleeping is one way that we recover from all the physical strain caused by our day jobs or any other strenuous activity we partake in during waking life.

You must get enough hours of quality sleep every night if you want to feel rested when it comes time for work or play tomorrow morning again.

If you are not getting enough hours of sleep, you may constantly feel tired and underperform simple, day-to-day tasks.

Does it matter what time I fall asleep?

Having a regular sleep schedule can be very helpful. However, every person will have their own ideal time to fall asleep. In addition, there is research that shows that the circadian rhythm may have health benefits, which is something to consider when choosing a regular time to fall asleep.

How can you increase energy if you can’t get enough sleep?

If you can’t get enough sleep, there are ways in which you can increase your energy levels through various supplements. One of the most common is caffeine. However, if you stimulate too late in the day, it can lead to losing important hours of sleep.

How important is a sleep schedule?

Having a sleep schedule can be very helpful in limiting the chances of sleep deprivation. Going to bed at the same time can help you get adequate sleep.

What is more important, the length of sleep or the quality of sleep?

While both the length of sleep and sleep quality are important, the quality of sleep is more important than the length of sleep.

What is sleep deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is a term used to describe someone who is not getting enough sleep or adequate quality of sleep.

Does sleep impact your immune system?

Sleep has an impact on your immune system. Not enough sleep can weaken your immune system and ability to fight off disease and illnesses.

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