Sleep is in my view number one resource in one’s life. It renews the body, regenerates the cells, repairs and reorganizes the neurons and the brain, allows growth and health. Sleep deprivation or bad quality sleep on the other hand cause a plethora of effects. From tiredness and irritation to proneness to react rather than respond, to negativity, slowness of thinking process, difficulty to learn or incapacity to concentrate, reduced sexual appetite, and to severe depression, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Amount of sleep

The amount of sleep varies from babies between 14-18 hours to children up to age of 7 between 10-12 hours and adults between 7 and 9 hours. With age the need for sleep reduces, as well as there is a theory, babies between 16 and 18, children up to 7 around 10-12. As we age the amount of sleep we need tends to reduce and few conditions related to lifestyle, the place you sleep and energy stimulants are relevant for the quality of your sleep

How sleep deprivation operates  

Lack of sleep affect the hormones which regulate the appetite (leptin), thus sending false signals to the brain about the levels of satiety. The body increases hunger to compensate for sleep deprivation.

When we don’t sleep a minimum of 5-6 hours the memory and cognitive functions are impaired, bringing forgetfulness, negative interpretation of events; sharp wave ripples occur during deep sleep, according to science those are responsible for long term memory and lack of them induces memory loss

Getting 6 hours of sleep instead of 7 or 8 may not seem to affect but over time it slows down alertness and performance, reducing the release of human growth hormone and increasing the levels of cortisol. The stress hormone cortisol breaks collagen, reducing the skin regeneration process.

So what to do get a better sleep?
Some sleep hygiene during the day refers to:
  • Getting some good amount of physical activity; Sport is an energy booster for the day and allows energy reduction during the night; 30 minutes per day (not during evening) make wonders for your sleep and can be anything simple from walking, biking
  • Eat in balanced proportions; consider size of the plate, mix, lighter dinners; for a good sleep is not recommended to go too full but not hungry either, cut on sugars and refined carbs; also a too late dinner will keep your body energized (
  • Avoid too many liquids and skip all together alcohol and items like coffee, tea, chocolate, acid drinks, nicotine which are stimulants and energy booster, especially at evening; it reduces energy, so whilst it may have some effect to put you to sleep, it has other effects such as dehydrating, and you may need to wake up to drink water later on
  • Think positive, negative thoughts excite you and keep your mind rumbling
  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, keeping in sync with your body. Your body has its internal clock and you should go to sleep when you feel tired and wake up naturally without an alarm. Avoid sleeping late in weekends and if you need an alarm clock in the morning, try shifting your bedtime earlier. Going to sleep too early (after dinner drowsiness), is also not recommended and napping throughout the day should not be more than 15-20 minutes.
  • Ensure enough light exposure as melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep cycles. Spend time outside, get some early morning sunshine, make your home /workspace as much natural light friendly as possible
 Few tips Before bed:
  • Avoid using electronics, the bright/white and blue lights prevent the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone; if in doubt these include phones, TV’s, computers, tablets, advanced wrist watches and so on; allow for a winding time before bed of around 1 hour
  • Have a routine before bed, such as brushing teeth, showering, creaming, getting into your pajamas, perhaps reading a few pages from a paper book, reducing the lightning in the room, refreshing the room and having a cup of relaxing plants tea
  • Of preference to have a separate room and bed in which you sleep, so you associate this place with the activity of sleeping and resting rather than work or eating or playing games, etc
  • Ensure your bed sheets are clean and fresh, ideally not perfumed and you are wearing comfortable loose clothes; your bed/mattress/pillows should be comfortable and ergonomically adapted to your body
  • A good room temperature for the night is around 18-20 degrees, with good airing.
Psychological aspects:
  • Do no worry about not sleeping, this produces cortisol, anxiety and alertness
  • Write down how your day was, express gratitude, pray, listen to chill music
  • You may wish to get away from the rumbling mind, meditate and focus on breath in and out or repeat a mantra; breathing by itself relaxes; to go back to sleep make relaxation your goal, not sleep
  • Focus away from sounds, thoughts by fixing a on a wall spot or something in your hand. Watch it in detail and stay awake with eyes wide open,
  • sleep disorders (apnea, insomnia, sleepwalking, snoring, etc) need to be addressed to a specialist for adequate treatment and intervention; if in doubt you can research more

Sleep is a critical component to a joyful life. There are things which you can do during the day and evening to improve your sleep ranging from above recommendations to getting external specialized advice. If you are concerned about the quality of your sleep or if you have the symptoms of a sleep disorder, it is important to consult your health care practitioner. Do not hesitate to improve your life. He or she can help you determine the cause of your sleep problem and recommend appropriate therapy.

Happy sleeping!

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Camelia Krupp

Master Certified Coach & Therapist

Building future globally! I am fascinated by human beings and their psychology and dedicate my life to bettering their capabilities and those of the organizations they are in. The first step starts with you and if I can support and empower you to take one step further in your growth, then my mission as a coach is fulfilled. Building self every day is the single meaning of life!

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