Have you ever woken up after a full night’s sleep and felt more exhausted than when you went to bed? Of course you have, but what is the difference between good sleep and bad sleep? The difference is in our sleep cycle and most importantly about the REM our brain was able to experience during this time.
Between work, school, family, and recreation time, it seems that sleep has taken a back seat in priority to all of our other responsibilities and activities. Due to these constraints nearly one-third of adults are unable to achieve the recommended amount of six quality hours of sleep.
Affects on Health
A recent study done by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic reported that a number of bodily systems are negatively affected by inadequate sleep including the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Disturbances in appetite, metabolism, weight control, immune function, disease resistance, sensitivity to pain, reaction time, mood, and brain function were also reported.
So with so much at risk, why not get the recommended time required to sleep every night? For some people, that isn’t an option.
What can I do?
With limited sleep time, it is important to maximize the sleep that you do get. Make sure that you follow some important guidelines before going to bed:
- Turning off electronic devices 30 minutes before going to sleep.
- Exercise regularly, but don’t exercise too close to when you go to bed.
- Avoid foods that are difficult to digest including foods high in fat before going to bed.
- Invest in a mattress that will allow you to sleep as soundly as possible.
The right mattress will in theory, give your back the support and alignment needed to keep your spine straight, but at the same time, provide enough cushioning to the hips and the shoulders for you to sleep comfortably without having to turn all night. This can be increasingly important as we age, and our sleep requirements become greater. If we can get our body comfortable, we can get into the deep REM sleep that our body requires to heal and rejuvenate itself faster, which will help us maximize the limited amount of sleep we get.
With a strict sleep regimen, and the right mattress, six hours of restful sleep will be achievable and much more beneficial than 8 hours of disturbed sleep that does not allow us to get into the deep stages of sleep.
For Your Health,
Dr. Scott Van Dam