Sleep is something that many of us take for granted, yet, we may not have not taken a moment to think about what actually happens when we sleep... Surprisingly, our brain does not completely shut down and rest while we sleep; it actually remains very active and it cycles through five 90-minute stages of sleep! Among other things, sleep is a critical time for our cells to repair themselves, and when our memories are processed and consolidated.
Learn more about the magic and myth behind sleep to see if you're catching the right ZZZs!
Sleep holds the key to some of our most important biological functions - so it's way more than just a quick re-boot for the system!
It's not surprising then, that we feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a good nights’ sleep. However, with our busy lifestyles, many of us are not getting enough...
We all know the how exhausted and irritable we feel after a poor nights’ sleep. Interestingly, research conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation has shown that up to 45% of adults do not sleep for long enough or sleep poorly most nights.
This leaves almost half of all adults feeling exhausted and irritable the following day. If their poor or insufficient sleep continues, they may suffer the more serious health consequences of sleep deprivation, such as obesity or even cardiovascular disease.
So it's critical that you're getting the good stuff!
So if sleep is so important, but also so complex - do we know enough about it?!
Not according to these old wives' tales...
You can train yourself to function with less sleep
It's true that different people need varying amounts of sleep, but on average, an adult requiries approximately 8 hours per night. If we get sleep less than we need for one night, we may not experience negative side effects straight away, but if this pattern continues over several nights, we won't be able to think as quickly or clearly as before, and our reaction time will slow down.
Weekend sleep-ins help you get ahead
A tempting one, but actually our bodies can't 'bank' sleep for use later...it's not like a savings account, it's more like a credit card. So, if we have had a few nights of poor sleep, then sleeping-in on the weekend can assist you in paying back your sleep debt. The best tip? Maintain a regular sleep-wake pattern throughout the week and you won't need the extra sleep in on Sunday.
Daytime naps are a waste of time
If you've have slept well the night before, adults do not usually require a nap in the day. However, after a night of poor sleep, naps can actually be beneficial! For best results, it is best not to nap late in the afternoon (too close to bedtime) or to nap for longer than an hour. Otherwise if you're feeling tired - nap away!
Regular snoring is normal
Snoring a little is OK, but if you're shaking the house - there could be problems! Loud snoring almost every night is not normal and may be a symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). This is a worry because in this condition, sufferers actually have long pauses in their breathing whilst asleep, leading to all sorts of problems. The pauses themselves are caused by the airway blockages, and if left untreated, OSA can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. If this is you, get it checked out!
Are you getting enough sleep?
Maybe you got some tricks up your sleeve to make sure you and the family get enough...
Share with us your thoughts or tips, and if you are concerned - get yourself over to your GP for a chat.
Sleep is so important to our health and affects the way the we thrive in our waking lives!
Tartakovsky, M. (2016). 14 Strategies for Sleeping Better. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/14-strategies-for-sleeping-better/