If you weren’t already aware of why sleep is so important, think about it this way: you spend about ⅓ of your life asleep (x). Both your mind and your body need to rest and recharge at night and get ready for the next day. Failing to get a good night’s sleep is not only unpleasant but it also has its repercussions, both mentally and physically. Developing healthy sleep habits can help you get a good night’s sleep every night.
Why Do We Sleep? How the Body Develops Its Sleep Habits
Researchers are not completely sure what its purpose is, but there’s tons of research on sleep physiology and there are several potential explanations. There is no one correct theory. Rather, researchers think it’s more of a combination between several different ones (x):
- Inactivity theory – Suggests an evolutionary benefit that creatures who sleep at night are less vulnerable to predators.
- Energy conservation theory – Claims the main function of sleep is to reduce energy demand during the night.
- Restorative theory – States that sleep allows the body to repair cellular components that deplete during the day (muscle repair, tissue growth, protein synthesis, hormone release).
- Brain plasticity theory – Claims that sleep is necessary for brain function and structure growth, especially for infants.
What Happens While We Sleep?
Throughout the day your body cycles through periods of being asleep and being awake, appropriately called the sleep-wake cycle. The sleep cycle is divided into several stages with two main types of sleep: rapid-eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. Each stage is related to different types of activity in the brain and different brain waves. Although there are only four stages, you typically cycle through each of them several times throughout the night (x). Healthy sleep habits ensure that your body cycles through the process efficiently.
What Mechanisms Control Sleep?
There are two internal mechanisms that control sleep: circadian rhythms and sleep-wake homeostasis. These biological processes are what determine when you are awake and when you are asleep (x).
How Does Lack of Sleep Affect the Body?
If you didn’t get enough sleep at night, usually you’ll feel it the next morning. You may just feel a little cranky and find yourself yawning on the way to school or work. But long-term sleep deprivation or regular bouts of insomnia can have detrimental effects on the body, both mentally and physically. Research states that our sleep habits play a big role in your overall health.
Mood & Brain Function
Like we mentioned earlier, sleep is important for brain function and development. For example, studies suggest that sleep is important for neuron communication and consolidating and storing memories from short-term to long-term (x). So lack of sleep can have a negative effect on brain function and cause:
- Memory problems
- Irritability and mood changes
- Difficulty concentrating
According to the restorative theory, the body also uses sleep to repair cellular damage that happens during the day so that the body can function properly in the morning. Research associates sleep deprivation with an increased risk for chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression (x, x, x).
5 Healthy Sleep Habits to Try
Dr. Harneet Walia, MD of Cleveland Clinic is an expert on sleep disorders. She says, “In our society, nowadays, people aren’t getting enough sleep. They put sleep so far down on their priority list because there are so many other things to do—family, personal and work life (x).”
But a busy schedule during the day doesn’t have to take such a toll on your sleep habits at night. Here are some healthy habits to try to improve sleep.
Limit Blue Light
Nighttime light exposure interferes with your body’s circadian rhythm by making your brain think it’s daytime and slowing down melatonin production (x). Nowadays it’s even more detrimental to health because TVs, computers and smartphones give off blue light. You turn off the lights in your bedroom when you get ready to sleep, so do the same with your devices. Stop scrolling and streaming at least two hours before bed for better sleep.
Try to Sleep & Wake at the Same Time
Like we mentioned earlier, your body follows a fixed sleep-wake cycle that plays on a loop over a 24-hour period. Since this is a regular cycle, irregular sleep habits may interfere with your body’s natural circadian rhythm and affect sleep quality.
For example, one study in the Journal of Adolescent Health analyzed college students’ sleep patterns. The results suggested an association between irregular sleep patterns and sleep disturbance. The subjects who slept poorly seemed to exhibit more problems with physical and psychological health (x).
Research states that alcohol can interfere with human growth hormone (HGH) levels in the body, which helps regulate the sleep cycle (x). In the same study, researchers analyzed alcohol as a factor in the college students’ sleep patterns and concluded that poor-sleepers seemed to report drinking more alcohol than high-quality sleepers (x).
Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
When it’s bedtime, try to make sure you’re preparing your mind and body for sleep. Creating a bedtime routine that you repeat every night can help you learn to associate certain activities with sleep. Since you’re avoiding blue light from your TV, smartphone and computer, choose activities to help you relax like reading, meditation, listening to relaxing music, deep breathing or taking a warm bath.
Your bedtime routine should also aim to eliminate stress. Research shows a connection between stress and sleep connection. Stress is a normal human function, but when it interferes with sleep the body can’t do its job during sleep including muscle repair and memory storage (x). The study in the Journal of Adolescent Health also recognized stress as a factor in the college students’ poor sleep habits (x).
Try Natural Sleep Supplements
You can also try natural remedies to help support your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Some supplements may help improve sleep quality, such as melatonin, valerian root, glycine, magnesium and GABA. However, always consult a doctor before you take any supplements.
Where to Buy Supplements for Sleep
Are you interested in trying any of these supplements for sleep? They are available for purchase at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements that also supplies pure ingredients to other brands. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices. Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
- Melatonin powder
- Valerian Root Extract powder
- Glycine powder
- Magnesium Citrate powder
- Gamma aminobutyric Acid (GABA) powder
Sleep is just as important to our health as food and water. Although researchers do not know exactly why we sleep, there is evidence that the body uses it to repair damage, conserve energy and encourage brain development. Without sufficient sleep, the body cannot get the rest it needs in order to recharge.
Research associates prolonged sleep deprivation or prolonged periods of insomnia with a number of health complications, such as diabetes, heart problems, obesity and depression. Luckily there are some simple tips you can practice to develop healthy sleep habits and maintain your overall health.
The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.