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Power Of Sleep

Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate The Impressive Power Of Sleep

Sleep. Some love it, and some avoid it. As trivial as it may seem, sleep shouldn't be neglected. It’s common knowledge that sleep is important, but do you really know why? Well, sleep allows the body to recover, both physically and mentally. Not to mention, it plays an important role in our health. Often neglected, sleep is much more important than you think.
How Does Sleep Work?

Sleep works in cycles. Each night, we sleep for 3 to 6 cycles of 90 to 120 minutes. Our knowledge of sleep comes from the use of a technology called polysomnography. This is a test that uses electrodes to analyze brain activity, muscle activity, and eye movements during sleep.

Through further analysis, this is what we know about sleep cycles. There is:
Slow Wave Sleep is characterized by a transition phase, a light sleep phase, and then a deeper sleep phase. Altogether, this constitutes the first cycle of your beauty sleep.
Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM) takes place shortly before waking up. It is during REM sleep that we dream.
When we are young, the Slow Wave Sleep period is much deeper and as we get older, it decreases. In general, older people have a lighter Slow Wave Sleep which in turn, creates difficulty in sleeping.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are more common than we think. They can cause difficulties in falling asleep which results in a lower quality of sleep. Types of sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or hypersomnia. Let’s take a dive into each of these disorders in detail to better understand them.


Insomnia is when you have difficulty falling asleep or maintaining a quality good night’s rest. It is also the phenomenon of waking up earlier than expected in the morning. Affecting approximately 33-50% of adults in the US, it’s the most common sleep disorder. Insomnia can affect all age groups, but the groups that are most prone to having it are women, the elderly, divorced or separated people, and those who have lost someone close to them. Certain personality traits can contribute to insomnia: High anxiety, perfectionism, a tendency to worry, or neuroticism are some of the few traits that are linked to it. Furthermore, it can be triggered by other disorders such as depression, mood disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. On the other hand, it can also be a factor that increases the risk of depression and anxiety. In addition, it can increase your chances of developing a drug addiction, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, asthma, immune system dysfunctions, and even increase your chances of having a car accident. According to the HUNT study, the risk of myocardial infarction is greater in individuals with chronic insomnia (between 27 and 45% greater).

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea occurs when small periods of asphyxiation (being deprived of oxygen) lasting about 10 seconds occur repeatedly throughout the night. Studies suggest that it affects at least 5% of the general population and 10% of people over 65. During sleep apnea, the effort required to breathe is greater and when this effort is increased, the person experiencing sleep apnea wakes up. Following sleep apnea is the hyperpnea phase which is breathing abnormally deeply or rapidly which also causes a person to wake up throughout the night.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is when you feel the need to move your legs, arms, or in some cases, other parts of the body. It’s the angst feeling that your body can’t sit still. Affecting about 8% of the population, but mainly affecting the people in older age groups, it can often be accompanied by a tingling sensation and sometimes some pain. To relieve yourself of the symptoms of restless legs syndrome, try stretching or standing up and going for a walk.


Hypersomnia is characterized by abnormal sleepiness and a strong urge to sleep. Whether it’s day or night, this sleep disorder can catch you at any point throughout the day. In addition, you’ll most likely also experience difficulty when trying to wake up paired with a feeling of confusion.

What Happens When You Don't Get Enough Sleep?

Sleep is more than essential for your wellbeing, it is vital for your wellbeing. It plays an important role in memory, concentration, cognitive performance and many other areas. Being intimately linked with your memory and learning, we definitely suggest that you get a good night’s sleep.
Studies have shown the effectiveness of a night's sleep in strengthening memory and learning. During the night, our neurons reorganize the information we gathered through the day. It effectively categorizes them and connects things that go together. So, when a study session is followed by a sleep phase, our brain has a much easier time remembering this information, regardless of the time of day. On the other hand, having a poor night’s sleep makes memorizing more difficult due to the function of the hippocampus being impaired. The hippocampus is also the part of the brain that lets you know when you’re full from eating. Having it be slowed down from the lack of sleep will lead to overeating!
Lack of sleep also has an impact on emotional reactions. A sleep-deprived individual tends to have a negative outlook throughout his day-to-day activities. A study conducted on university students analyzed their responses to emotional stimuli. The study involved showing a series of images classified into three categories: Pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant. The students were then divided into two groups: One group was tested before and after a good night's sleep, and the other group was tested before and after a night of sleep deprivation. The results of the study revealed that the group of sleep-deprived students perceived neutral images more negatively than the group that had a full night's sleep.
According to a study conducted by Inserm and the University College London, there was found to be a link between lack of sleep and dementia. The study revealed that a night of fewer than 6 hours of sleep increases the risk of dementia by 20-30%. On the other hand, it was revealed to be a reduced risk of dementia in people that slept for at least 7 hours per night.
If that wasn’t enough, fatigue caused by lack of sleep is directly linked to road accidents. According to an article by Michael H. Bonnet and Donna L. Arand, fatigue is a factor in 57% of accidents resulting in truck driver death and in 10% of fatal car accidents.
Poor sleep quality and lack of sleep can also lead to an unhealthy diet and an increase in your food intake. Studies show that insufficient sleep has an impact on appetite hormones noting that short durations of sleep increase the risk of being overweight or obese by double.
Have we convinced you to try and get more sleep? Before you tune in to the next episode of your favorite series knowing that you’ll tell yourself “just one more”, ask yourself if it's really worth it.

Tips On Getting More Quality Sleep

First and foremost, we recommend getting an average of 8 hours of sleep per night. Children aged 6 to 13 generally need about 9-11 hours of sleep per night. Teenagers aged 13 to 17 should be sleeping for 8-10 hours. Adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep. As you can see, the older we get, the less sleep is required to remain rested, however, sleep time can depend on the individual. For some, more sleep is required to remain rested. So, to find out how much sleep you need, turn off your alarm clock and allow your body the freedom to choose the right time to wake up. You can carry out this test over several days, or ideally, several weeks. The best time to find out your body’s ideal sleep time is during the holidays when you can keep that alarm turned off!
In addition, we recommend giving yourself a set time to go to bed and establishing a bedtime routine. Try not to use your phone or any other electronic device for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. If you can, squeezing in some physical activity before bed, but not too close to bed, will help you fall asleep more easily. Keep your dinner time meal light to help your body with digestion, and you'll be sleeping like a baby in no time. Sleep cycles should be respected, so try your best to not wake up during your deep sleep cycles! We also recommend that you do not use screens (phone, tablet, etc.) at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Try not to do other activities on your bed because your brain will associate that activity with laying on your bed which will cause you to stay up longer. If you can, splurge a little to make your bed as comfortable as possible. Get darker curtains if the light keeps you up or even an eye mask. So, get into some comfortable clothes, jump in bed, and have yourself some quality beauty sleep!

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