All humans are aware of the fact that good sleep is important for their health. Sleeping is just as important as doing some exercises to keep you fit or eating a healthy balanced diet to fulfill your body’s requirements.
Our body requires at least 7 hours of sleep to function effectively, but does that mean sleeping at any time of the day? Any 7 hours in 24 hours?
The answer to the question mentioned above is simple. NO!
Sleep Patterns 101: Just How Important Are They?
1. What is the Best Time to Sleep?
Our body follows a 24-hour biological clock called a circadian clock. This master clock is present in the hypothalamus of the brain and is controlled by neurons and hormones.
Many hormones that provide energy to our body and help our mind work effectively release into the bloodstream in the morning with the sunrise, and they tend to decrease as the day progresses. Cortisol is a well-known morning hormone.
Similarly, many hormones are released in the bloodstream when our brains detect darkness and, under their effect, our body relaxes and gets sleepy. Melatonin is an important hormone that induces sleep; it is produced from the pineal gland. The pineal gland stops producing melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, when the body detects sunlight. Therefore, people take health supplements such as melatonin gummies made with natural ingredients by brands such as Olly and Gummies Garden, drink organic chamomile tea like the ones offered by Traditional Medicinals, or use valerian herbs to induce deep sleep.
So, it is in the better interest of an individual to get a proper good night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep is when an individual does not face any difficulty falling asleep, sleeps well throughout the night, and wakes up fresh in the morning. Everyone doesn’t need to sleep an exact number of hours, and sleep quality is dissimilar through different phases of life.
2. Do All of Us Require the Same Duration of Sleep?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that all humans sleep at least 7 hours per night up to 40 years and about 6 hours and 30 minutes per night between 55 and 60. This good proportion of sleep is called a sleep pattern. There are many positive effects on the health of the following sleep patterns.
- Newborn babies need 14 to 17 hours of sleep.
- Toddlers also require 11 to 14 hours of sleep.
- By the age of 5, children need 9 to 11 hours of sleep.
- Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
- Older people need 6 to 8 hours of sleep.
The duration of sleep declines with age, and older people usually complain about insufficient sleep. Older people and young children are also easily disturbed during their sleep as they sleep lighter than teenagers and adults. There are four stages in the sleep cycle, and each is approximately 90 minutes long. With increasing age, the time to fall into sleep increases by an average of 10 minutes.
3. Why Are Sleep Patterns Important?
Let us learn about some demerits of destructive sleep patterns on health!
- Sleep affects your ability to interact socially and reduce your capability to read facial expression of anger and happiness of people around you. Hence you may be unable to process important emotional signals from your loved ones.
- Many cellular level changes occur in people who sleep less. Sleep deprivation causes increased cellular damage and inflammation in the body. Poor sleep is associated with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and its reoccurrence risk.
- Loss of sleep negatively impacts the immune system. Reduction in sleep increases the chances of infection as the function of the immune system is compromised.
- Sleep decreases in mental health issues, and this further worsens the condition of patients. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts increase in people with reduced sleep.
- Sleep deprivation can cause imbalanced hormones such as insulin that helps the body metabolize glucose. Sleep deprivation of 4-6 days can affect a healthy individual so much that he may present symptoms of prediabetes. Type 2 diabetes is common in people who have irregular sleep patterns.
- People who do not take proper sleep have an increased risk of stroke and heart diseases.
- Lack of sleep can affect accuracy, speed, reaction time, and mental health. It reduces the concentration and problem-solving skills of a person.
- Poor sleepers need more calorie intake so that their body can function properly, and it can lead to a lot of weight gain. Bad sleep patterns can cause obesity in children and adults.
There are many other risk factors associated with a lack of proper sleep pattern. There are many causes of sleep deprivation, commonly known as insomnia, including some physiological conditions such as pregnancy and old age or mental issues such as depression and anxiety. Insomnia is also common in people who have a deficiency of vitamin or mineral or combined deficiency of both.
How to Regulate Your Sleep Patterns?
As we see that sleep deprivation can cause profound effects, it is essential to treat it in time. Pregnant women can improve sleeping posture, use essential oils, or use melatonin supplements to enhance melatonin synthesis in their body. Similarly, people with mental health issues can use prescribed treatment along with health supplements to have proper sleep.
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