There isn’t one certain reason as to why we sleep or why we need a certain amount of sleep within every twenty-four hours. We just know that we need it. Unfortunately, a third of Americans are sleeping less than the recommended amount every night! Sleep is so important for the obvious reasons. Here are eight important facts about sleep that you need to know about!
THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SLEEP
If you’ve heard about those celebrities who sleep only two hours a night and are fine, ignore them. A healthy adult needs about seven to nine hours of sleep per night! Consistency matters a bunch here as well! Sleeping this amount every night is crucial and can affect your memory and stress level the following day. If you sleep too little, you’ll end up a mess the following morning! On the flip side, if you sleep too much, you will feel even more exhausted afterwards. So, what’s the point of wasting away those extra hours?
The whole sleep cycle thing is real. If you ever naturally wake up a half hour after you’ve fallen asleep, it’s because the first part of your sleep cycle is considered “light sleep” and not a real sleep. Then, you go into deep sleep where it’s harder to wake up. Of course, there’s the dream part of your cycle, also known as REM sleep. You repeat this cycle multiple times a night, each cycle being about ninety minutes to two hours. It’s best to wake up at the end of a cycle. So, if you ever wake up feeling great, there’s a chance it might be because you woke up at the end of your sleep cycle!
THE MYTH OF ALCOHOL BEFORE BED
Some people think that alcohol before you go to bed will help you sleep. This is actually completely untrue! Alcohol before bed physically affects your body. It takes energy to metabolize alcohol and so your body will feel awake while it goes through your system. While it might be easier to fall asleep with alcohol in your system, it’s not great for your actual sleep cycle!
YOU CAN’T CATCH UP ON SLEEP
Not getting the right amount of sleep is bad, but trying to catch up on sleep is an impossible task… literally. It’s actually a complicated issue. If you sleep five hours one night and ten hours the next, it won’t seem like it makes a difference. Don’t ever think “I can catch up on sleep,” this weekend or something of the sort because it’s not going to happen. That being said, you can build back those hours that were lost over time! It just takes… well, time.
BEDROOM TEMPERATURE MATTERS
If you aren’t cold while sleeping, you won’t be sleeping well. Cooler temperatures are important because while sleeping, your body temperature changes. It falls. That’s why we feel the need to have colder rooms at nighttime as we are falling asleep! If you prefer the coldness, it means you are healthy!
HOW YOUR SLEEP AFFECTS YOUR WEIGHT
You lose more weight when you have a good night’s rest. On the other end of that, you gain more if you don’t sleep enough. You tend to feel hungrier when you’re cranky and tired, so it makes sense. Balancing hormones is a lifelong process and this isn’t anything different! Sleep well and have a better body weight. Sleep badly and be prepared to put on some extra pounds!
DON’T SLEEP IN ON WEEKENDS
It’s kind of like jetlag. Your body gets used to something and it’s important to keep up that consistency! Sleeping in on weekends messes up that pattern and it’ll be even harder to get back into that pattern during the work week. On a personal side note, I really enjoy weekend mornings while the sun is coming up. It’s quiet, beautiful. You should give it a try (more often than not)!
THE WORST SLEEPING POSITION
How you sleep if just as important as when you sleep! There’s very little about sleeping on your stomach that is good for you other than the fact that it helps with snoring… and that’s more help to whoever is in your room sleeping with you rather than you yourself. It’s bad for you back because it flattens the natural form of your spinal cord. Instead, try sleeping on your back (or at the very least your side). Just avoid sleeping on your stomach at all costs!
Just remember: sleep is important to your mental and physical health! Use that towards your benefit rather than your downfall!