Of all the tasks that our body performs day by day, sleep is probably one of the most important, if not the most important, of all these activities. To demonstrate the point, several mythologies and religions point to specific deities that have power over the dream, such as Hypnos of Greek mythology and Imhotep of Egyptian culture. These deities are revered for their abilities to affect sleep and dreams.
Sleep, defined, is the recurrent voluntary state of altered consciousness in which our muscles are more relaxed and most of our senses are turned off. Sleep usually begins when the bodily systems become slower and our breathing becomes more relaxed. This causes a big yawn since our body needs to get more oxygen in our body.
Unknown to some, sleep has several functions that are vital to our survival. Achieving the optimal amount of sleep helps you heal faster by directly affecting our immune system. During the REM sleep stage, most bodily functions slow down and the energy stored during this time is spent healing any injury and improving the immune system, helping us to fight diseases.
Memory is also very affected by sleep. Studies show that students who spent all night memorizing data and data related to a topic on the day do not retain as much information as those who studied for a while and spent more time sleeping. Dreaming, a side effect of sleep, also helps the brain process the events of the previous day, unconsciously converting them into memories.
Sleeping is also one of the ways in which our body protects itself from what is to come. A well-rested body is able to cope with unexpected challenges and studies have shown that a person who has slept well can perform tasks better than those who are sleep deprived or who have experienced poor sleep quality. The same principle applies to another theory about energy conservation, since sleep allows the body to store energy inside cells for later use.
Myths and assumptions.
Over the years, several myths and assumptions have emerged about the different facets of the dream. Some have sprung from culture and religion, while others grew out of old stories and obsolete data.
Probably the most common of these is that we can always rely on sleeping during the weekend and spending the rest of the week. This is totally false since our body is not equipped to accumulate hours of sleep and disburse it throughout the week. Some may say that this works perfectly for them, but in reality, this ruins their circadian rhythm and makes it harder to get quality sleep on weekdays, even on weekends.
Circadian rhythms are present in most living beings and the “rhythm” comes from an internal clock that allows a better coordination of the biology and behavior of an organism during the day-night transition.
Sleeping less during the days of the week reconfigures the circadian clock and sleeping more during the weekend makes it even worse. One could say that he sleeps until noon on Saturdays and Sundays, but this pattern will make them awake until the last hours of the same day, which nullifies the fact of “banking”, since technically it is a business as usual.
Another myth that has been circulating is that our bodies need a minimum of eight hours of sleep each day. While this may be true for some, this is not always the case for most. We all have different sleep and behavior patterns and, therefore, different sleep needs.
Children need an average of 10 to 12 hours of sleep, as they need rest to help their bodies develop more. Adults, on the other hand, would need approximately 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day, but most adults say they can survive their daily transition with only four hours of sleep.
This is another myth that concerns the dream. People who claim this fact simply are not aware of how sleepy they really are. This is often reflected in how they perform their daily routine, especially in their inefficiencies in tasks that require advanced motor skills and good judgment. The constant lack of sleep also decreases the body’s immune system and attracts diseases more than people who get enough rest.
The general public does not usually assume that these diseases are directly related to the quality of sleep but, in reality, they really are. This is another assumption that most people have. Diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart problems and even psychological disorders such as manic depression.
Another popular assumption that emerged in recent years is that once we sleep, our brain rests while our organs stop working. This is a very misleading conception about sleep, since neurologists will argue that our body rests, but it does not mean that it has stopped functioning. Our body is not a mechanism that stops when it is turned off, our organs will only do so when we are dead.
Our brains remain active during sleep and use this period of “rest” to recharge the body and cure any disease or injury that we have. Also take this opportunity to clean up our waste system that will not be processed while you are awake. These are called interstitial wastes that are chemical byproducts of our neurological system.
Snoring is annoying, but it does not mean that it is harmless. This is a common trait among humans and considering it as just an indication of a person’s level of tiredness is a serious assumption. Chronic snoring, often characterized as strong and continuous, can be a symptom of sleep apnea that, if not diagnosed, can pose a serious danger to you or someone you know.
To fully understand how much you need to sleep, we must also understand several areas that often equate to sleep quality. With the exception of the risks related to the medical condition, there are a couple of areas that we can address to help us sleep better.
The circadian rhythm is probably the most important area that we can and should improve. This particular part of our neurological system helps the body to copy with the day-night transition. Any imbalance in this “clock” will result in stress and loss of sleep quality.
To improve our circadian rhythm we need to discover what our rhythm is. Learn to keep track of how you feel sleepy all day long. Any part of the day that shows an increase in vertigo means that those are times when we need to add a 15-minute nap. The greater the instance of sleepiness during the day, it also means that we are depriving ourselves of a quality sleep.
This information can be used to determine what numbs you, what habits make you sleep, what conditions must be met so we can reach those forty winks. Watching television before going to sleep does not work, since most of the programs are designed to stimulate our pleasure centers and make us more awake than asleep. Our TVs have more possibilities of dozing than us.
The environmental conditions also play an important role in allowing us to sleep with quality, and this is probably the easiest way to improve, since we only need to adjust the ones that affect us while we try to sleep.
Simple adjustments such as buying a bed and bedding, that adapt to our comfort needs, turn off the devices we have (turn off that iPad!), Turn off the lights or turn on a night light if you are afraid of the dark, close the noise will also help. You can buy specially designed ear plugs if necessary.
There are some environmental factors that can affect the quality of our sleep, but we have no way of adjusting them, but there is always an alternative solution. Factors such as weather and cultural activities can be addressed by adjusting the thermostat for the first or anticipating heat and noise levels and moving away for a period of time.
Another factor that we can consider to obtain a good sleep is the quality of the consumption that we have. If possible, try to avoid any food or drink that contains sugar and / or caffeine before sleeping, since these two stimulate our brain and provide more energy than is needed before going to bed. There are some teas that can help you sleep a lot and well, but these are a matter of taste.
Night tapas often help you get a good night’s sleep, but there are some alcoholic beverages that, in fact, do the opposite. Medications taken before bed also affect our sleep pattern. Some medications have “supplements” that stimulate greater brain activity, although there are some that can cause drowsiness, although at the most unfortunate time.
Knowing how much time you need to sleep is the first step in determining how you can survive the lack of sleep. Typical symptoms of lack of sleep include clumsiness, fatigue, sudden changes in weight and a significant reduction in cognitive abilities and motor skills. There are other physiological effects of lack of sleep, but the most important thing is that we know how we can survive through a state of lack of sleep.
Experts agree that performing tasks that require attention and memory during a state of lack of sleep often leads to unfortunate results. It does not matter if you are creating business reports or preparing a large dish, as long as you are in a private state, do not expect the result to be what you want and be on par with what you can do when you had the right amount of sleep .
It has always been suggested that we delegate tasks that we can when we are deprived of sleep to someone who can do it and who perform low-level tasks. Doing so will help our body recover rest and will not shake the part of the brain that controls attention and memory.
Driving in a state of lack of sleep is also a big no, as an efficient defensive driver; We need to have our full attention on the road and traffic. Most vehicle accidents are often the result of drivers losing control of their vehicle because they fell asleep for a few seconds without realizing it. The micro-dream is a fairly unknown but very common in which a person experiences a short episode of sleep that lasts from the microseconds to a minute of filling. This is an effect of lack of sleep and goes unnoticed until it becomes longer and more frequent.
Several experts also advise against performing financial transactions while inactive, as it could confuse a comma for a period or a 3 for a 8. If possible, leave those tasks for another day or delegate if possible.
Tasks that require fine motor skills should also be limited or avoided altogether. These include running, biking, throwing, playing instruments and video games. Not only the capacity of attention while sleeping is not at the necessary level, but the muscles that perform these activities also feel fatigued while sleeping.
So, how much sleep do you need?
According to the statistical data, an adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per day. This will be the same goal until we get old and we may never be able to achieve that goal, but making sure that we rest during the hours of the day when we need it most will help us overcome the difficulties of lack of sleep.
Changes in lifestyle, modification of sleep habits, adjustments in our physical environment and possible consultations with a licensed physician are sometimes necessary to help us sleep well in these modern times where distractions are the norm and sleeping is not as valued as before.