At 8.30am last week Wednesday, I got a call from a friend of mine who missed our appointment. What he told me made me sad and it got me motivated to write this article. He missed our appointment because his boss suddenly suffered stroke and had to be hospitalized since then. When I tried to find out the cause of the stroke, I got to learn that the man didn’t get enough sleep every night. Once again, I recognized the need to sleep healthy to live healthy.
Keeping track of your sleep schedule may not be a top priority for many, but getting enough sleep is critical to your health. The amount of sleep we get each day can affect everything from your weight and metabolism to your brain function and mood. What time you go to sleep tends to vary depending on your social life, work schedule or family obligations. No mater our circumstances, though, it’s important to sleep healthy to live healthy!
Importance of Healthy Sleep
How much sleep did you get last night? A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health as eating healthy and exercising. Sadly, more and more people are not getting enough sleep due to various factors. Millions of people are therefore suffering from the effects of sleep disorders.
I once read about the sad story of a very successful business man in his early 40’s who suddenly died from heart failure. He was a fitness enthusiast, and always believed in healthy eating. This middle-aged man neither smoked nor drank, and had good personal habits; yet he died. Autopsy reports after his death revealed that he died from insufficient healthy sleep. He was known to sleep only for 4 hours each night.
Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain. People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. Additionally, sleep deprivation disrupts the appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation. Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function like concentration, productivity, and performance.
According to Heath Line, longer sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance. Sleeping less than 7–8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Besides, sleep deprivation can cause prediabetes in healthy adults in as little as 6 days, and are strongly linked to depression.
Finally, getting at least 8 hours of sleep each day can improve your immune function and help fight the common cold. Poor sleep is linked to inflammatory bowel diseases and can increase your risk of disease recurrence.
Best Sleeping Options
When you’re asleep during the night, what is the position of your body? Though a sleeper may find it difficult to retain one particular posture, there are “good” and “bad” ways to sleep.
The best sleeping position by far is either on the back or the side, according to experts. It doesn’t matter if you sleep on your left or right side, unless you’re pregnant. Both of these positions support the spine and the neck, leading to a more restful night’s sleep and helping to prevent injuries in the long run.
Sleeping on your back – Sleep experts refer to this as the supine position. Your head, neck, and spine are in a neutral position so you’re less likely to experience neck pain. It’s important to note that some people who sleep on their backs may experience low back pain.
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Sleeping on your side – the most popular position. It’s known as lateral sleeping position by sleep scientists. This position may be good for those who snore. If you have some forms of arthritis, sleeping in the side position may make you sore. It’s also possible that sleeping on your side could be good for your brain.
Sleep face down – Sometimes called the prone position. It may help ease snoring by shifting fleshy obstructions from your airway. But it may cause neck and back pain. This sleeping position can put pressure on nerves and cause numbness, tingling, and nerve pain.
The best sleeping position for snoring is to sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back may aggravate snoring. If you snore, but still want to sleep on your back, try stacking a few pillows underneath your head to reduce the risk of snoring.
It’s obvious that a good sleep is one of the pillars of health, along with nutrition and exercise. You simply cannot achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep. Do not trade your sleep time for any other activity, no matter how important it may be. No mater what you do, never be in debt of sleep, because your body will never write off the debt. So be sure to sleep healthy to live healthy!
Have you experienced any of these conditions mentioned above due to insufficient sleep? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.