A typical person sleeps a third of his lifetime. That is to say, if you’re going to live up to 75 years, you’ll spend 25 years of your life sleeping. It’s as if being born asleep and not having to wake up until you’re in your early adulthood.
In this demanding, highly materialistic and wealth-oriented modern society, sleep is seen to be by many as an improper indulgence. Hence, a lot of people forego the chance for a restorative night’s sleep in exchange for productivity.
But does it? Does reducing sleep time help us improve productivity? Does it cause us to perform better and more?
Table of Contents
- The Perils of Sleep Deprivation
- What do we know about the function of sleep?
- How to Deal with Sleeplessness
The Perils of Sleep Deprivation
Although the purpose of sleep is not yet fully understood, scientists are convinced that the human biology has drastically adapted to a life where a 7- to 8-hour sleep is a significant part.
Sleep is an activity that is greatly controlled by a biological rhythm that maintains homeostasis–the equilibrium of life. This rhythm is called Circadian Rhythm because it seems to be dependent on the time of day.
Sleep deprivation messes up with this rhythm resulting in metabolic syndrome. This inability of the body to function normally results to a constellation of diseases. Among those are diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer.
Other short-term effects of sleep deprivation include:
Research reveals that reducing the normal amount of sleep by 1.5 hours causes a significant reduction of alertness. During sleep, the crevices between the folds of the brain increases in width. This allows the brain fluid to wash away toxic materials produced during daytime activity.
Even a day of sleep deprivation can adversely affect memory. If prolonged, memory not only does it impairs memory extensively, it also causes erratic and false memories.
Low tolerance toward stress
Lack of sleep can make you irritable. Simple problems and issues can cause you to lose your temper easily. It does not only cause a reduction of tolerance stress, but it also stimulates the production of stress hormones thereby causing one to be more stressed than usual under ordinary circumstances.
Poor quality of life
People who are deprived of sleep are irritable and have low energy. They are not motivated to do things or engage in any activity. Thus, their quality of life is reduced.
What do we know about the function of sleep?
There are a lot of theories as to the function of sleep. One of the most striking theories is that it allows us to conserve energy during the night—a period deemed less suited for any human activity.
Research results suggest that sleep plays a vital role in memory consolidation. It allows the brain to decide which memory to keep and which to forget. Some research reveals that a lack of sleep, particularly REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep correlates directly to poor memory.
The duration of an optimum sleep varies from person to person. Factors such as age and genetics also affect the number of hours a person requires to sleep.
Newborns sleep between 14-17 hours, and the duration shortens as an individual grows old. Older adults normally sleep between 7-8 hours.
Sleep that is less than 7 hours has been shown to cause not only various ailments but of death, itself.
The modern lifestyle and the demand for productivity affect how we acquire a restful sleep. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly a third of the US population or roughly 40.6 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation.
How to Deal with Sleeplessness
The first thing you need to understand is that sleeplessness is a condition that needs to be dealt with the soonest. You can’t go on living a sleep-deprived life thinking that it does not have any long term effect. You have to act on it and look for a viable solution to address it.
Here are some tips that you need to do to cope up with sleeplessness
Create a sleep-friendly bedroom
Use soft and comfortable sleeping materials. Prefer memory foam pillow because they are the most comfortable on the market today. They tend to adapt to the body’s shape and aides not just in falling asleep but in attaining a complete and restful sleep, as well.
If you don’t have access with memory foam pillows, try pillows stuffed with cotton. Opt for natural instead of imitation or synthetic cotton fabrics.
Keep your room quiet. If you live in an area where noise is unavoidable, you can use a fan or a white noise machine to drown out the environmental sound that might prevent you from falling asleep or rouse you from one.
Limit your exposure to bright light
Sleep is greatly influenced by Melatonin—a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Light affects the production of Melatonin. If your eyes are exposed to bright light, particularly blue light, then your body will not produce a sufficient amount of melatonin that will make you feel sleepy.
Limit your exposure to bright light. Turn off or dim your light in the evening. Avoid bringing objects with bright LEDs like mobile phone, computer or tablets in your bed. If you like to read, then choose a book or a Kindle device, instead.
Avoid or limit sleep during the day
Nap, nonetheless, is an essential daily activity. If you are going to nap, then limit it to half an hour and avoid sleeping past 3 pm. This will ensure that you’ll feel tired in the evening and will fall asleep on time.
Take your caffeine in the morning
As much as possible, take caffeinated drinks in the morning. This will give your body enough time to remove caffeine before evening where it is not needed anymore. Some people have very low tolerance to caffeine and can feel its effect even up to the evening. In this case, it’s best to avoid caffeinated drinks altogether.
Sleep is an essential component of the circadian rhythm. However little we know about it, its role in keeping our physiology at its peak is undeniable. Thus, it is important that we make sure we get enough of it if we like to perform at our best.
One of the most significant aspects of sleeping that is often neglected is the sleeping environment. It’s important that the sleeping environment is comfortable. Memory foam pillows are essential components of a sleep-friendly environment. It will help you fall asleep faster and achieve a restful and restorative sleep. I will propose to you an example of the most popular memory foam pillow that is coop home goods shredded memory foam pillow.