Having a good night’s sleep is very important for health because it is during this period that we regain our physical, intellectual and mental capacities.
Rest and recovery are part of a healthy lifestyle and are essential to health. We all need to get a good night’s sleep, although that need may vary from person to person.
When is sleep enough?
Sleep is considered to be sufficient when it produces a state of total alertness and a feeling of well-being the next day.
Important functions such as energy conservation, anabolic metabolism (synthesis of substances), maturation of the central nervous system, memory consolidation and hormonal secretion are performed during sleep.
Sleep strengthens the immune system, releases the secretion of hormones – such as growth and insulin – consolidates memory, makes the skin more beautiful and healthy, in addition to relaxing and resting the muscles.
However, World Health Organization estimates show that many people do not sleep well: 27% of people using primary health care have problems with sleep and one in four people has had at least one episode of insomnia in one any night of your life. Thus, insomnia is proven to be the main sleep disorder. Even though it is a sleep disorder, insomnia is not in itself the disease, it is “just” the symptom of a problem that is often overlooked. Medicines are prescribed to treat insomnia and it is often forgotten that it has a cause. So it is important to understand when and under what circumstances the episodes started. It is also necessary to understand what type of insomnia it is – difficulty falling asleep, waking up at night or waking up early.
Tips for getting a good night’s sleep
Before looking for any form of treatment try to follow some simple rules that can help you:
Reduce consumption of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and other chemicals that interfere with sleep and avoid them before bed.
- Transform the room into a sleep-inducing, dark, calm and comfortable environment.
Establish a calm and relaxing routine an hour before going to sleep.
Go to bed only when you feel tired.
Once in bed do not constantly look at the clock, as this will increase the feeling of stress.
- Use natural light to adjust the internal clock. Let her enter the room in the morning and go for a walk in the middle of the day. Light helps the body to perceive natural rhythms.
- Always lying down and waking up at the same time helps to establish a routine that guarantees a better and more consistent sleep.
Have an early dinner and eat light meals, in order to avoid very slow digestions.
Drink enough fluids at night not to wake up, in the middle of sleep, thirsty. But do not overdo it so as not to spend the night going to the bathroom.
- Do your workout early in the morning or, at most, up to three hours before going to bed. You will be more tired when you lie down and the alert effect caused by physical exercise will be gone.
In the midst of numerous advantages that sport brings in terms of health and longevity, the practice of physical activities can be quite beneficial in combating insomnia. Studies show that playing sports regularly increases a person’s sleep quality by 65%. Apparently, not only does the total sleep time increase, but also the amount of deep sleep, which is critical for the brain to process new information.
Loprinzi PD, Cardinal BJ. Association between objectively-measured physical activity and sleep, NHANES 2005–2006, Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2011 Volume 4, Issue 2, Pages 65-69
Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School)
CMO – Chief Medical Officer Holmes Place Portugal