Healthy sleep is a sleep after which a person feels alert and rested. At the same time, the duration is not a determining factor in its quality: the needs for rest are individual for everyone, therefore there is no single answer for everyone how long healthy sleep should last. For some, 4 hours is enough, and for others, 10 is not enough. In addition, the time of healthy sleep, even for the same person, may vary depending on the degree of his fatigue and other reasons.
The harm of lack of sleep
Surely you have heard the expression: “Sleep is the key to health.” And this is true: people suffering from insomnia often complain of feeling unwell. Moreover, sleep disturbances can lead to the development of serious diseases and conditions, including heart attacks, strokes and sudden death. Lack of sleep leads to a deterioration in concentration, impaired memory, especially long-term memory. Insomnia can affect the quality of work performed, which requires high responsibility, and student performance. Sleepless drivers are more likely to get into accidents, and this is already a real threat to life – and not only to their own.
It has also been proven that healthy sleep and human health are interconnected at the humoral and cellular level. Poor sleep leads to a decrease in immunity, because with its lack there is not sufficient activation of T-lymphocytes responsible for protecting the body from colds and other infectious diseases.
Chronic sleep deprivation in the long term leads to more serious consequences than a single lack of sleep for 1-2 days. With a decrease in sleep time to 4-5 hours a day, carbohydrate metabolism is disturbed, primarily the absorption of glucose by tissues. Over time, this can lead to type 2 diabetes. In addition, people who sleep little are more likely to gain weight. Thus, healthy sleep is the prevention of obesity and diabetes.
Healthy sleep for a person is really important. How to reach it? Sleep doctors believe that at least half of the cases of insomnia could be avoided just by following good sleep hygiene guidelines.
All the rules that help to achieve sound healthy sleep can be divided into two large blocks: recommendations for creating the right conditions for sleep and tips on the daily routine.
How to create conditions for good sleep
- Sleep in a darkened room as much as possible: it is in complete darkness that the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, occurs most efficiently. Even a short sleep in the dark gives a greater feeling of cheerfulness than a long rest in a lighted room.
- Create silence in the room, and if this is not possible, an alternative to silence can be white noise that drowns out other sounds. Special devices – white noise generators – can be purchased at any sleep supply store.
- Buy a humidity meter (hygrometer) and make sure that the bedroom has its optimal indicators: 55-60%. To maintain the desired humidity, use an ultrasonic humidifier.
- Choose a temperature that is pleasant for you personally in the room and maintain it.
- Ventilate the room in the evenings, it is very important for healthy sleep.
- Sleep on a large bed. For a double bed, the optimal width can be 180 or 200 cm.
- Choose a comfortable mattress from well-known brands: this way you can be sure that no unhealthy components were used in its manufacture. Change it every 7-8 years. Buy a removable cover and wash it regularly. Turn the mattress over every 3 months and vacuum it and the base of the bed regularly. Give preference to orthopedic mattresses.
- Sleep on a good medium height pillow. Prefer down pillows from buckwheat, high-quality synthetic fillers in the form of balls or fibers. Wash them at least once every 6 months, change them at least once every three years.
- Buy a blanket made from breathable materials. A good option is a blanket made of wool, silk, light synthetics.
- The best underwear is one that does not contain dyes with a chemical smell, is dense, made from natural fabrics, absorbs moisture well and is pleasant to the touch.
General recommendations for the regime of the day
A healthy lifestyle is conducive to sound healthy sleep. To never experience insomnia, follow the tips listed below.
- Wake up every day (even on holidays and weekends) at the same time, and fall asleep at the same hour.
- Don’t sleep during the day.
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol, especially 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Do not take psychoactive drugs.
- Do not consume caffeinated products 6-8 hours before sleep. Such products are chocolate, coffee, tea, Coca-Cola.
- Do not eat if there are 2-3 hours left before bedtime. But falling asleep with an empty stomach is also not the best option.
- Exercise is good for your health and has a positive effect on the quality of sleep. The optimal time for training is no later than one and a half hours before a night’s rest, the optimal frequency and duration are 3-4 times a week for 30-60 minutes.
- Create and follow a “sleep ritual”: Do the same things before bed every day, like listening to your favorite music or taking a bath.
It is enough to start following the recommendations described above and lead the right lifestyle in order to gain a sound healthy sleep in 3-4 weeks. If, despite all the efforts, sleep leaves much to be desired, you can always contact the Sleep Medicine Center at the Rehabilitation Clinic in Khamovniki. Sleep medicine doctors working in the sleep medicine department will assist you in the best traditions of Kremlin medicine. Soon you will be able to cope with insomnia and regain healthy sleep once and for all.