Sleep is as crucial to your well-being as other basic needs, such as food and water. You can’t go without these, but you can go without shelter because it’s not directly linked to your survival.
Similarly, you can’t survive without sleep. You may skimp on it occasionally, but even then, it will affect your health the same way the lack of water or food will.
The importance of sleep goes back to the fact that it affects pretty much every system and tissue in your body. It supports brain function, removes toxins, and boosts metabolism and immune functions.
What Happens When You Avoid Sleep?
If you don’t sleep at all for some reason, your body will begin to shut down as everything starts to go wrong.
What is more likely and expected for many is sleeping poorly, which means you’re not getting enough sleep, your sleep pattern is irregular, or you have other unhealthy sleeping habits that lower your sleep quality.
Studies conclude that poor sleep increases your risk of developing serious medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and stroke.
What Are Healthy Sleep Habits?
Healthy sleep habits are the actions you take to improve your nighttime routine and ensure you get quality sleep every night. These can be minor lifestyle adjustments that are highly rewarding for your sleep.
If you have struggled to get quality sleep, you may wonder whether recommended sleep habits are actually beneficial.
Let’s look at the science behind some healthy sleep habits to see how they contribute to quality sleep.
Consistent Sleep Schedule
One of the remedies for sleep problems like insomnia is creating a consistent sleep schedule. That means timing your activities so you can get in bed around the same time every day.
Regularity when it comes to bedtime fosters a healthy sleep pattern that directly improves your sleep.
While a regular sleep schedule leaves you more alert and energetic during the day, it is also linked to reduced risk of health conditions.
Avoiding Bright Artificial Lights
You may have heard that going to bed with electronic devices or using these devices shortly before bed can disrupt your sleep. If you tend to check your texts or social media while trying to sleep, you have likely noticed that you struggle afterward.
The reason you should avoid bright screens before bed is that the light throws off your circadian rhythm, which regulates when to sleep and when to stay awake.
In addition, artificial light affects the production of a protein in the retina called melanopsin, which suppresses melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.
Drinking caffeine close to bedtime is highly discouraged as it will most likely disrupt sleep. If you must drink caffeinated beverages, try doing so some hours before bed.
Caffeine is harmful to your sleep because it’s a powerful stimulant designed to keep you alert. Its effects can kick in quickly and take hours to subside.
Besides caffeine, eating and snacking shortly before bed is discouraged as it may result in acid reflux, causing sleep disturbance.
Exercising During the Day
Previously, it was only known that exercising can improve sleep quality, allowing your body to go into rest mode faster. But there is more than that when it comes to exercising and sleep.
If you struggle to sleep to the point you use sleeping pills, here is a healthier alternative: exercise during the day. Research suggests that aerobic exercises can decrease insomnia and that the effects are similar to sleeping pills.
Healthy sleep is crucial, but it can be elusive to many. Your daily activities and nighttime routine play a major role in the quality of your sleep. For the sake of your well-being, it’s important to replace unhealthy sleep habits you may have with healthy ones.
Understandably, it’s not easy to adopt good habits that improve the quality of your sleep. You probably struggle so much that you resort to sleeping pills.
If you’re used to medicating, consider healthier alternatives to boost your sleep. That can be meditation or herbal remedies like cannabis, which can aid your sleep without causing adverse effects in the long run.
In states like Michigan, where cannabis is legal, all you need is a medical marijuana card to legally access cannabis products and start working towards a healthier sleep.