It’s 3 am. You’re wide awake and you have to be somewhere in five hours. Do you ever wonder why this happens? Studies show that the quality and quantity of sleep you get play a big role in your waking life. But how so?
For starters, we function best on seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Everyone is different, but that range proves to work best for healthy adults.
Here are the five main areas affected by your sleep quality:
- Brain. Without proper rest, the brain isn’t as sharp as it could be. This can negatively affect your ability to process information, make decisions, concentrate and memorize. Studies show that a sleep-deprived person can be just as dangerous behind the wheel as a drunken individual. Sleep also influences your attitude. Folks who don’t get proper sleep are more prone to be moody or depressed.
- Heart. The chance of developing heart disease, or even a stroke, increases the less sleep you have. Too much sleep can have the same effect. Again, stay in the seven to nine hours range. If you get less than five hours or more than nine, you’re putting the health of your heart at risk.
- Immune System. A good night’s rest helps your body fight off foreign invaders that can cause infection. So when you try to survive the day on a couple of hours of sleep, you’re more likely to get sick. The proper amount of sleep is essential for strengthening your immune system. A weakened immune system can give way not only to the common cold, but to more serious conditions including various types of cancer. Sleep also helps remove the toxins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Appearance. When you are tired, other people can tell. A well-rested person appears more vibrant. Even worse, a lack of sleep can cause you to put on the pounds because sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism. So unless you want to walk around looking like an obese corpse, make sure you get your rest.
- Sex Drive. Science shows that when you are sleep-deprived, your libido goes down and you have less interest in sex. Studies even show that it can cause men’s testosterone levels to hit abnormally low levels at night.
Top 5 Sleep Remedies
Here are five short tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. Read closely, as we tell you what you should (and should not) do to catch the best zzz’s.
Sleep Remedy No. 1: Drink Chamomile Tea. Chamomile tea is known to relax the mind and body. If you’re trying to prepare for bed, have a cup of chamomile tea before hitting the sack. It has no caffeine and the herb is proven to help people fall asleep.
Sleep Remedy No. 2: Take a Hot Shower Right Before Bed. Science proves that if you take a hot shower or bath before going to bed, you will fall asleep quicker. After your shower, your body drops back down to its normal temperature. During this drop, your breathing and heart rate slow down. This makes the transition to sleeping much easier and quicker.
Sleep Remedy No. 3: Test-Drive Your Mattress. Some experts suggest that you take a “test nap” on your mattress before you buy it. Everyone needs something different in a mattress, depending on their health conditions. But one bit of advice for everyone is to give it a try before keeping it.
Sleep Remedy No. 4: Easy on the Coffee. Having coffee before you go to bed is a terrible idea. In fact, ditch the caffeine before bed, period. Cortisol levels peak between 8-9 a.m., noon-1p.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. So the best times to consume caffeine are between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and between 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. That means after 5 p.m., there’s no need for it.
Sleep Remedy No. 5: Be Consistent. Maintain the same sleeping schedule every day. That means go to bed and wake up at the same time whenever possible. It will keep your body in the rhythm of things. Consider it a form of self-programming.