Why does sleep have such an affect on us? Is it really that important? How can we maximize our recovery while unconscious?
Sleep allows our body to repair all the 'wear and tear' we experience throughout the day. When our body is finally at rest the healing process can begin. Our tissues are able to regenerate and our brain can process and learn from our days experience. Without giving ourselves the proper time needed for these things to occur, we most definitely feel the affects of it the following day. Imagine if your body were battery operated. When a battery isn't charged completely it cannot carry out its full potential. Our bodies react the same way. Sleep is how we 'charge' our body. Without the proper amount of sleep we will be unable to perform to our full potential.
So how can we maximize our sleep? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 26-64 get 7 hours of sleep.
That amount will either seem appropriate, excessive or no where near what you could possibly ever sleep, depending on what you can afford to sleep and are used to. For those who find themselves shy of this recommended amount, which seems to be the majority of adults, we will highlight a few points that will allows us to get the most out of our sleep. This does not necessarily mean we need to sleep more. In today's society it can be hard to find time, especially time for sleep when our lives are so tightly scheduled. Here's some tips that will help you to sleep soundly no matter the time you can allot for it.
•Electronics: Did you know the waves that electronics devices emit can interact with your brain waves and cause your sleep to be disrupted? Try to keep all electronic devices turned off and at least three feet away from you while sleeping. Even television before bed cause restless sleep. When preparing for bed, turn the television off 30 mins prior to bedtime. As we watch television our brain activity accelerates and our neurons start to race. When you shut off electrical devices 30 prior to sleep, you allow your brain to calm down and prepare for sleep.
•Caffeine: A cup of coffee or tea sounds like a great way to relax at the end of the day. Unfortunately, this could be the exact reason you can't seem to relax. The general rule of thumb is to switch to decaf after diner. However, even then the lingering caffeine in your system from hours before can cause problems when it comes to sleeping. If you have to have that cup of coffee or tea, try switching to decaf after lunch.
•Exercise: Exercising regularly is a known contributing factor to a good night of rest. The one thing we do want to think about it the timing of our workout. After vigorous exercise you want to allow 3-4 hours before going to sleep. It will take that long for your body to settle and calm down enough to allow proper sleep