In the world of being well, sleeping well is one of the most important factors to being fit for life and thereon fit for work.

In our culture, there is an attitude that sleep indicates you are lazy. The cultural emphasis on work ethic also fosters the pervasive attitude is that one can sleep later and accomplish what one thinks is necessary or what they would like to do rather than prioritizing sleep. Yet, one of the most important aspects of trying to get adequate sleep is to allot enough time to sleep.

There are numerous activities that take the place of sleep. Of those, work is one of the major uses of time in people that get less than the suggested amount of sleep. Moreover in modern society, there are ample nighttime activities that can occupy a person. These may be time-consuming activities that go fairly late into the night.

Often, people do not realize the number of environmental factors and behaviors that impair our ability to fall asleep or maintain sleep. There are numerous things that we can do to mitigate these sleep disruptions and fall asleep faster and gain greater quality sleep.

These recommendations are collectively known as “sleep hygiene” practices and can be thought of as cleaning up both the physical and mental environment at or around bedtime.

It has been extensively studied that inadequate sleep can impact an individual’s health. Reduced sleep has been associated with increased body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, arterial blockage, glucose metabolism, being more prone to depression, a compromised immune system, a general decreased quality of life, and ultimately may lead to a shorter lifespan.

Sleep scientists have documented what most people intuitively understand about the most conspicuous effects of sleep deprivation, there is a substantial increase in the drive to sleep.

In order to learn something, the person must first be able to attend to it. Thus, one’s ability to recall novel information is impaired with sleep deprivation. Inadequate sleep alters the emotional aspects as well as cognitive decrements. Sleep deprivation has been associated with a change in how we process emotions.

One of the greatest worldwide health epidemics is obesity and associated metabolic disorders. Inadequate sleep plays a role in this epidemic. There are numerous changes in hormones that accompany sleep deprivation. The levels of two hormones critical to regulating feeding are altered in sleep-deprived people. The level of leptin have been shown to decrease while ghrelin increases. Leptin signals satiety and ghrelin signal hunger, consistent increased hunger, decreased satiety, and eventually consumption of more food.

There is increasing evidence that sleep is intertwined with cardiovascular health, the highest rated non-communicable disease in the Western world. Studies have found a larger increase in blood pressure in people that had shorter sleep duration than people with a longer sleep duration. This puts increased stress on the entire cardiovascular system.

There are a number of answers to improving sleep quality and quantity. One would need to know that in the majority of instances, physicians have very little to offer patients in terms of improving sleep.

The first step is to determine the possible causes via a non-invasive sleep assessment conducted in the comfort of your own home and under normal sleeping conditions. From this assessment one would be in a position to delve further or have the answer to what could be upsetting either the quantity and or quality of sleep.

We find determining the cause of disruptive sleep, raises awareness and insight into sleeping better. Since sleep takes up much of our lives, one would be encouraged to learn how to sleep well.

Peter Šmanjak

Owner and Founder at Infinite Risk

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