How Important is a Good Nights’ Sleep?
True or false: the negative effects of sleep deprivation are so great that people who are drunk outperform those lacking sleep. True! According to research findings from the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation has severe consequences on your abilities.
Why is sleep so critical?
During sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons. Not allowing your body to do its work during sleep has several negative effects, including: slowing your ability to process information and solve problems, reducing your creativity, and increasing stress levels.
How does sleep relate to overall health?
Besides greatly affecting your ability to function in your daily life in everything from work to relationships, sleep deprivation is linked to a variety of serious health problems, including: heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Lack of sleep also has a host of negative health effects on your immune system, makes you look older, and for men, not sleeping enough reduces testosterone levels and lowers sperm count.
6 ways to improve your sleep
1. Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that interferes with sleep by increasing adrenaline production. Since caffeine takes a full 24 hours to work its way out of your system, a cup of coffee at 8 a.m., will still have 25% of its effect by 8 p.m. Any caffeine in your bloodstream makes it harder to fall and stay asleep – and when you do fall asleep, caffeine interferes with the quality of your sleep.
2. Avoid devices that produce “blue light” near bed time
Sunlight contains high concentrations of this “blue” light which halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel more alert. By the evening, your brain does not expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it.
Unfortunately, most of our favorite evening gadgets such as laptops, tablets, televisions, and mobile phones—emit short-wavelength blue light. The best thing you can do is avoid these devices for at least an hour before bedtime – though television is okay for most people as long as they sit far enough away from the set.
3. Stop working late
Work in the evening stimulates the brain when you should be winding down and relaxing in preparation for sleep. Recent surveys show that roughly 60% of adults check their work emails up until they go to sleep. This can interfere with sleep.
Instead of checking in on work right until bed time, set a limit at which time you put away your work and allow your body to relax.
4. Take short naps
Most people feel sleepy in the early afternoon. This is mainly due to a peak in melatonin production between 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. In fact, you’re better off taking a short nap than relying on caffeine to keep you awake. A short nap will give you the rest you need and you’ll sleep much better in the evening than if you drink caffeine or take a longer afternoon nap.
5. Be aware of snoring or sleep apnea
A snoring spouse or sleep apnea could be robbing you of quality sleep. If snoring is an issue, a sleep specialist can test to determine whether or not sleep apnea is occurring.
Dental sleep appliances can be used to treat snoring and even sleep apnea cases. The dental appliance is used to keep the jaw forward and reduce the partially blocked airway that makes the sound of snoring. Contact our dental team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group for more information about dental sleep appliances and read more about dental devices for sleep apnea on our website.