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The importance of a good night’s sleep, How can I improve my sleep?

According to the World Health Organization, an adult should sleep between 7 and 8 hours a night to ensure physical and psychological well-being. This recommendation, which we often overlook, is much more important than it may seem at first glance.


How do you usually sleep? Do you usually sleep well, or, on the contrary, do you usually have problems? And today, how did you sleep? These questions, harmless at first glance, hide much more importance than it seems.


The quality of our sleep has a lot to tell us about our physical and psychological functioning.



What happens to us when we don’t sleep well?


On a physical level, we have all noticed the consequences that a bad night brings to the body, and even more so if the bad nights have been chained together; we feel tired, unwilling to do those activities that we like so much, such as going for a walk, going out to dinner or playing sports.


It is obvious that lack of sleep weakens our organism. What’s more, people who sleep less than 6 hours a night are at greater risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.


On a psychological level, it is also very easy to recognize the consequences of one or more bad nights: our brain becomes unproductive and those activities that require concentration and attention become too dense and heavy.


Why is it important to sleep well?


In the same way that our lack of restorative sleep is reflected in our physical and mental activities, a pleasant night’s sleep also leaves its mark. Some of these traces are perfectly noticeable in the short term, others in the long term, while others are based on their preventive nature.


A good quality of sleep establishes a necessary physical and emotional renewal, because:


  • At the physical level, the body receives the necessary rest to face another frenetic day of activity. This is even more relevant in the case of children; in the stages of sleep the growth hormone is generated, so we can say that while they sleep, they grow!


  • At the brain level, sleep allows us to sort the information learned throughout the day; it discards that which is useless and encodes that which is meaningful. Sleep, therefore, is especially crucial for students and others who need their memory to perform functions.



How can I improve my sleep?


Once we are aware of the importance of sleeping well, it is very easy to ask ourselves the following question: What can we do to improve the quality of our sleep?


There are some recommendations that can help us to do so. For example:


  • Establishing a sleep routine is essential to achieve an orderly sleep. This routine involves calculating a number of hours of sleep (between 7 and 8) that we must respect day in and day out, and scheduling the time of our days to carry it out.


  • -Try to sleep all at once. The programmed hours of sleep must be followed. Sleeping in spurts takes away a lot of quality sleep. It is better to sleep fewer hours at a time than many intermittent hours. If we want to take a nap, it should be short and in the central hours of midday.


  • Avoid drinking stimulating beverages after midday. Change them for calming drinks. Avoid, also, to drink alcohol in the afternoon and evening.


  • Make your room a pleasant space for you. Keep order and make sure that the temperature is around 18-20º. Do not have computers connected. Their waves can affect your sleep.


  • In the moments before, do relaxing activities that do not require too much concentration and that you can finish easily.


  • If you feel that you have a lot of thoughts in your head and these can hinder your sleep, write them down; this way, the mind will be freed and this will help you sleep better.



We can apply these tips little by little, accepting that their applications and results improve with practice. In this way, we will notice how, as the days go by, we get a more restful sleep. And this will undoubtedly be reflected in our daily life, both physically and mentally.



Dr. Mansi Shah

Functional Wellness Network

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