Lifestyles

The Battle of the Snoozes

Is Sleep Your Best Friend or an Ugly Foe? You Decide.

By: Lucia Elmi

The key to balance is a good night’s sleep. (Credit: valmy.com)

The struggle is real. The holidays are coming and midterms are upon us in just a few weeks, which means sleep will become a secondary necessity for the time being.

However, a good number of us have made it an unbreakable routine at this point in time to survive with sleep that is below the average requirement to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night to maintain a healthy body and mind.

For some of us, it’s due to having an active schedule that keeps you occupied with responsibilities that keep you up past your bedtime. For others, sleep is a constant struggle to be won every night, and most of the time it ends up in one defeat after another.

Sleep may seem like something to easily overlook in our busy lives, but it is vital for our overall health and ensures emotional stability when it comes to handling stress and other unexpected events.

Making sure our brains get well rested at night ensures that it will be able to maintain command over our bodily functions throughout the day, such as digestion and maintaining blood pressure levels.

Just like viral infections or wounds, sleep deprivation is a disruption of the homeostatic environment within our bodies. In other words, lack of sleep can throw off the healthy balance our bodies have been designed to maintain.  

If left untreated for a long period of time, it can have a lasting impact on our lives in the present and in the years to come.

Lack of sleep can lead to a number of health complications across the spectrum. It is often one of the leading causes for clinical depression and anxiety. Having a rough couple of nights of no sleep will naturally cause you to feel agitated and gloomy.

These minor symptoms can one day develop into depression and/or anxiety if not kept under control, and it is an even higher risk for others if depression and anxiety is a predisposed illness in the family genepool.

Physiological disorders have also been linked to sleep deficiency. One of the most common ailments seen in people with long-term sleep disruption are heart problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Hormonal imbalances have also been documented, which may lead to problems with fertility and blood glucose levels.

With a few simple adjustments, you can avoid health problems in the future. It will certainly take effort on your part to adjust your schedule and keep a strict attitude on the importance of sleep, but it will be worth the effort.

One simple but effective tip is to make sure your go to sleep and wake up at the same time every morning.  This will help to readjust your sleep cycle back to relative normalcy.

Also, cutting down on electronics or other stimulating activities at least an hour and a half before bed will help to get your nerves to calm down and drift to sleep more easily.

It is also highly recommended that you give mediation a try. No matter your beliefs, it is just a simple way to ease down the mind before bed.

Depending from person to person, meditation can sometimes be a tricky thing to master, especially if you’re the type that always has your mind swirling with responsibilities and other worries. However, plenty of mediation tutorials exist online to help you get the hang of the technique.  

If home remedies such as these don’t work, you can also try over the counter natural sleeping supplements and medications. Products such as melatonin, nerve tonic, and valerian root extracts are all-natural remedies that are not addictive.

Antihistamines are also good for ensuring drowsiness to settle over you and put your right to sleep.

Sleep hygiene is a key element in having a healthy body and mind. Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves, which can have disastrous effects if left unattended.

Don’t be that person; your body will thank you in the future.

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