It’s no secret that eight hours of sleep a night is the ticket to a productive workday. However, it’s not just the amount of sleep that matters. That sleep needs to be restful, deep sleep, which means it must be largely uninterrupted. There are some steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the sleep you need to function at your best, and the benefits are well worth it — you’ll see!
We all know that rest and sleep are necessary, but it helps to know exactly why. Many of us lead stressful and busy lives, where we encounter a lot of new information each and every day. Our brains need time to process all that information and convert it from short-term memory to long-term memory. This can only happen when we are experiencing truly deep sleep. If you don’t get adequate sleep, your short-term memory bank can actually become overwhelmed to the point where you begin to forget things, like deadlines, meeting times or whether or not it’s your turn to pick the kids up from school.
Beyond influencing memory, lack of sleep can also impact your decision-making abilities. The more sleep-deprived you become, the more energy your body pushes towards survival instincts, such as consuming food. However, your ability to discern between types of food or preparation techniques would become increasingly impaired. You are also much more likely to make mistakes — and not notice them — when you haven’t received an adequate amount of sleep.
Different sleep disorders can impact your sleep in a variety of ways, but all of them lead to feeling drained and depleted of energy during the day. In the case of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), interruptions in your oxygen supply can startle you awake, making it difficult to fall back asleep. Loud, incessant snoring can interfere with your partner’s quality of sleep and cause them to wake you whenever they’re unable to sleep because of your snoring. And insomnia can prevent you from ever falling asleep or entering deep sleep.
If you are being woken throughout the night or you are unable to fall asleep, your body is never able to enter REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep), which is a critical process that allows your brain to revisit all of your experiences from the day and come to terms with all of the emotional events in an unstressed state. Without this restorative process, your resulting emotional state will make you more likely to respond viscerally — and often irrationally –– to otherwise innocuous incidences during the day.
To get more sleep, you simply need to find ways to budget time during your daily routines. Instead of staying up an extra half hour to watch a TV show, try recording it on your DVR to watch over the weekend. Television before bed is a bad idea anyway, because the light emitted from the screen delays the release of the sleep inducing hormone, melatonin. This goes for any electronic device that emits a similar “glow,” such as smartphones and tablets. Try to keep the technology out of your bedroom, so that you can allow your brain to power down as you get ready for bed. Adopt this nightly routine, and you’ll find yourself asleep before you even know it.If you have questions about other lifestyle changes you can make to improve your sleep, get in touch today.