Sleep is essential to our bodies. Our bodies recharge, regenerate, repair and refresh during sleep. Proper sleep enables our immune system to fight infections, helps our brain to recover and repair itself and to remember information. Too little sleep does not only deprive the brain and immune system from recovery, but has, especially for women, negative impact on the endocrine system, causing bad skin and hair loss, muscle pain and tension. However, these are only the first signs. On the long run sleep deficit might cause cardiovascular diseases, angina pectoris, diabetes, gastric ulcer and migraine.
Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. How much exactly, is individually different and everybody needs to find out by him or herself. For some time, you’ll need to go to bed at the same time, preferably before 11 PM. Getting up in the morning once awake and refreshed and taking note of the slept hours, you’ll be able to compute the average over time. Generally, women need more sleep than men, because of the female multi-tasking brain. Women tend to multi-task, do lot at once and are flexible and so use more of their actual brain than men do. A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision-making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male – though probably not as much as a woman. During a British study, scientist determined an average of about 20 minutes additional sleep for women. Sleep-deprived women have higher inflammation markers in their blood which indicate developing health problems. Since inflammation markers are linked to pain, women can literally be in more pain when waking up. By contrast, the state of a man’s health does not appear to be closely linked to how much they sleep. Interesting is that sleep is divided into stages with different levels of sleep depths. While the time to fall asleep has an average 15 minutes, the first sleep cycle is about 60 minutes. All following sleep cycles are about 90 minutes. In order to wake up easily and refreshed on the next morning, it is consequently advisable to set the alarm about 7 hours and 15 minutes or about 8 hours and 45 minutes after your sleeping time.
To enhance falling asleep with alcohol is highly discouraged even though it might help you to fall asleep faster. However, alcohol mixes up the sleeping structure and reduces the crucial deep sleep.
Reading on computer screens before bedtime is also highly discouraged. Reading on the light-emitting screen suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin, makes us awake and has consequently negative impact on our sleep and on your circadian rhythms. It is recommended to put away glowing devices an hour or two before bedtime and to read on printed books or screens that are not backlit. Some e-readers, such as the Kindle, do not emit light — meaning that like a traditional book, they require an external light. It has become clear that sleep problems aren’t merely a matter to be solved with caffeine the next day but could be a risk factor for such chronic illnesses as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Sleep — or people’s inability to get enough of it — has been getting increased attention as a public health problem in recent years.
NAP and REST
If you don’t get enough sleep at nighttime, a nap after lunch is highly recommended to help you recharge. Especially, if you feel tired after lunch, don’t force yourself to continue working but take a nap. This will increase your performance by 35%. However, the nap should be either 25 minutes or 90 minutes long. Any other length will make the snoozer feel worse when they wake. For some people, resting longer than 30 minutes, might risk lying awake at night. You need to try it out. Even if you don’t fall asleep, resting after lunch is refreshing and rejuvenating. Your physical and mental health is positively affected by a short rest during the day. The rest may include breathing relaxation, muscle relaxation or autogenic training. Important is that this rest is without pressure but implemented with joy and fun.
Here are links for further studies, please remember to click “Translate” in Google-browser for the non-English links.
Lack of sleep diseases & benefit of rest during the day: http://goo.gl/SMJVUk
Women need more sleep & length of nap: http://goo.gl/ahSp79
Sleep cycles: http://goo.gl/VYR4SH
Screen light suppresses sleep hormone: https://goo.gl/evY0T1
Increase performance with nap: http://goo.gl/dcazR8