Salud: Sleep Basics
Welcome to Week 1 of the Salud: Sleep.
Sleep was long considered just a block of time when your brain and body shut down. Thanks to sleep research studies done over the past several decades, it is now known that sleep has distinct stages that cycle throughout the night in predictable patterns. Your brain and body functions stay active throughout sleep, but different things happen during each stage. For instance, certain stages of sleep are needed for us to feel well rested and energetic the next day, and other stages help us learn or make memories. In brief, a number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help people stay healthy and function at their best. On the other hand, not getting enough sleep can be dangerous—for example, you are more likely to be in a car crash if you drive when you are drowsy.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
Sleep needs vary from person to person, and they change throughout the life cycle. Most adults need 7–8 hours of sleep each night. Newborns, on the other hand, sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day, and children in preschool sleep between 11 and 12 hours a day. School-aged children and teens need at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Some people believe that adults need less sleep as they get older. But there is no evidence to show that older people can get by with less sleep than younger people. As people age, however, they often get less sleep or they tend to spend less time in the deep, restful stage of sleep. Older people are also more easily awakened.
Commit to getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
You Might Not Know
100 million Americans live with treatable, chronic pain.
Nagging pain and joint aches are the leading cause of missed work nationally.
Chronic pain accounts for over 45% of all disability claims.
Explaining the importance of posture and your hips.
Learn how improving hip function can dramatically improve posture and alleviate pain in other areas of the body.
Perform exercises that will balance and improve the structure and function of your hips, gluteus, and spinal muscles.
Why Sleep Is Good for You
Does it really matter if you get enough sleep? Absolutely! Not only does the quantity of your sleep matter, but the quality of your sleep is important as well. People whose sleep is frequently interrupted or cut short might not get enough of certain stages of sleep. In other words, how well rested you are and how well you function the next day depend on your total sleep time and how much of the various stages of sleep you get each night.
Performance: We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. In fact, the pathways in the brain that help us learn and remember are very active when we sleep. Studies show that people who are taught mentally challenging tasks do better after a good night’s sleep. Other research suggests that sleep is needed for creative problem solving. Skimping on sleep has a price. Cutting back by even 1 hour can make it tough to focus the next day and can slow your response time. Studies also find that when you lack sleep, you are more likely to make bad decisions and take more risks. This can result in lower performance on the job or in school and a greater risk for a car crash.
Mood: Sleep affects mood. Insufficient sleep can make you irritable and is linked to poor behavior and trouble with relationships, especially among children and teens. People who chronically lack sleep are also more likely to become depressed.
Health: Sleep is also important for good health. Studies show that not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, and other medical conditions. In addition, during sleep, your body produces valuable hormones. Deep sleep triggers more release of growth hormone, which fuels growth in children and boosts muscle mass and the repair of cells and tissues in children and adults. Another type of hormone that increases during sleep helps the immune system fight various infections. This might explain why a good night’s sleep helps keep you from getting sick—and helps you recover when you do get sick. Hormones released during sleep also control the body’s use of energy. Studies find that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, to develop diabetes, and to prefer eating
Your Weekly Behavior
Sleep Habit – Firstly it's important to understand what your sleep profile is. There are three different profiles, Owls (people who go to bed late and want to wake up late), Larks (those who go to bed earlier and get up earlier) and Intermediaries (those who have a relatively normal sleep cycle). Find your sleep profile at .
Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day—even on the weekends.
Exercise is great, but not too late in the day. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days but not later than 2–3 hours before your bedtime.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine. The stimulating effects of caffeine in coffee, colas, certain teas, and chocolate can take as long as 8 hours to wear off fully. Nicotine is also a stimulant.
Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. A “nightcap” might help you get to sleep, but alcohol keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the sedating effects have worn off.
Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. A large meal can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids at night can cause you to awaken frequently to urinate.
Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can boost your brain power, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Also, keep naps to under an hour.
Relax before bed. Take time to unwind. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual.
Try to practice deep breathing techniques before bed to help you relax, click here to find out how! (www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/seven-steps-to-a-better-nights-sleep/)
Keep a notebook on your bedside table. Writing down any worries or even your to-do list helps to clear the mind.
Create a wind down routine an hour before bed. Routines that are associated with sleep signal the brain that it's time to wind down - think a warm bath, having a milky drink, reading a book or listening to soothing music.
It's important to eliminate the factors in your bedroom that could be causing you disturbed sleep - look at the temperature of the room, the lighting, your bed to make sure you have the perfect sleep environment. (www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/perfect-sleep-environment/)
Avoid screen time (that includes smartphones, tablets and TVs) an hour before bed as it has an effect on the time it takes for you to fall asleep.
*If you’ve had a previous injury or have any other medical concerns, consult a qualified healthcare professional before participating in the Salud Sats: Move! program.
Bonus Practice - Start to Finish
Pick one of your Sleep Habits for the week and perform the activity first thing in the morning when you wake up and as a part of your wind-down routine. This can be as simple as stretching for 5 minutes or more difficult such as avoiding screen time for an hour after waking and an hour before bed. This is a great way to practice incorporating more healthy sleep behaviors into your day.
Continue to Salud: Improve Sleep
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“Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh