Healthy Sleep and Longevity
A good night’s rest is crucial to being able to function the next day. We all know the pain and sluggishness that comes from not getting enough sleep. This is frequently punishment enough for us when we miss out on sleep, but it isn’t always enough to make us change our habits. That’s not a good way to live though. Troubled sleep is unfortunately common in this era due to a myriad of factors. It often seems like it is all we can do to get a complete night’s sleep once every week and feels all but impossible to get it every night out of the week. This has unfortunate implications for both our short and long-term health. Our overall longevity may actually be directly tied to how much healthy sleep that we can get over the course of our lives. Understanding how this is so will require an explanation to properly appreciate how crucial sleep is to your life.
Time for Repairs
When most of us sleeps, our body actually paralyzes our body to a degree. It more or less cuts motor control while we’re sleeping to prevent us from acting out our dreams. Sleepwalking is when this mechanism doesn’t quite work as well as it should. Your body does this to help conserve energy while you’re resting. The downside is that sometimes you wake up just enough and experience sleep paralysis. When everything is working correctly though, you’ll never know. Your body uses this time to turn as much of your energy towards healing itself as possible. Sleep is, quite literally, the time for repairs on the body. It gets more done while you’re sleeping than it does all the time you’re awake. Poor sleep quality means that your body won’t get enough time and greater amounts of inflammation become common throughout the body. Additionally, repairs don’t happen that need to and this builds up over time. It leads to health issues that increase our chances for difficult to treat health issues.
We also need to get enough sleep to help maintain our mental health. Sleeping is crucial to this on multiple levels. One of the most obvious ones is that your mind starts to experience slower and more disjointed cognition when you’ve gotten too little sleep. That’s the mental sluggishness that we’re all familiar with by the time we’ve hit our 30s. This degradation adds up and continued sleep deprivation makes things worse over time. However, you also need to get the appropriate amount of sleep to help your body properly commit things to memory. Things get moved from short-term to long-term memory as you’re sleeping. Your long term memory is what helps you retain the skills and knowledge you need to function. On top of all this you have the fact that getting some sleep is necessary to help you de-stress too. Feeling off, sleep deprived, and unable to remember things properly just makes life harder and less pleasant. Chronic stress leads to severe long-term health issues that will reduce your overall longevity.
What To Do
You can get the necessary sleep if you’re willing to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle. The biggest one that most of us can do is to make a habit of turning off all our alarms and alerts in the evening. This means turning off your e-mail alerts, putting your phone to silent, and in general eliminating everything that can possibly wake or startle you in the evening. The reason for this is to help ensure your mind can calm down in the evening and be in a proper state for rest. Additionally, you’ll want to look into lowering the overall light levels of your home in the evening as well. Consider turning harsh overhead lights off and swapping to softer lamp light in the evening to help settle your brain into a natural lull. Lastly, consider doing something calming in the hour before bed. Reading or a similar activity away from electronics can help further calm your brain and prepare you for sleep.
Sleep is crucial to our collective long-term health. It is unfortunate that modern life has a habit of getting in our way when it comes to getting adequate sleep. Taking the appropriate steps to help ourselves get the appropriate among of rest is necessary for a happy and healthy life. We recommend using our tips and other sleep hygiene tips to help find what works to help you get the rest you deserve.