Sleep disorders and the first steps towards healthier sleep
Consequences of poor sleep. The positive health effects of good quality sleep. Sleep diary. When to see a specialist.
Sleep is one of the elements that is essential for everyone’s quality of life. Good sleep can significantly improve quality of life and health, while a lack of sleep can have a negative impact both on one’s personal and professional life.
However, the daily rush and high demands towards oneself often make people sacrifice sleep to achieve and accomplish more. Thus, good quality sleep is sometimes considered to be something exclusive, rather than an absolute physiological necessity for everyone
Consequences of poor sleep
In the short term the effects of poor sleep can only be felt slightly, but in the long run, poor quality sleep can seriously harm health and can significantly impact quality of life.
Causes of poor and low quality sleep:
- fatigue and sleepiness,
- difficulty concentrating and carelessness,
- longer reaction time,
- difficulty remembering and memorising information,
- lower immunity,
- increases the risk of overweight and obesity,
- increases the risk of diabetes,
- increases the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
Insufficient sleep over a longer period of time is also associated with shorter life expectancy.
Positive health effects of good quality sleep
One of the most important functions of sleep is cell and tissue regeneration. Tissue regeneration, muscle growth and the formation of our body’s most important building material – protein – occur mainly during sleep.
Good quality sleep helps:
- normalise heart rate and blood pressure,
- speed up metabolism,
- improve immunity,
- improve appearance,
- increase work capacity,
- improve concentration,
- increase the ability to cope with daily stress.
Amount of time that should be spent on sleeping
The recommended length of sleep varies depending on the age and physical and mental activity. An adult should sleep for an average of 7-9 hours, while a teenager should sleep 9-10 hours, children 1 to 2 years old – 11-14 hours, pre-school children – 10-13 hours and children 6-13 years old – 10-13 hours. However, the quality of sleep and lifestyle, as well as the time during which a person goes to bed and wakes up, must also be taken into account. The fact that many people feel much better, if they snooze during the daytime, should also be taken into account. It may only take 20 minutes, but it adds a completely different quality to the rest of the day.
Although sleep seems like a simple and self-evident thing, in today’s world about one fifth of people suffer from the consequences of poor sleep. Studies also show that sleep time has reduced significantly over the last fifty years, from an average of 7.9 h to 6.8 h.
The term “sleep hygiene” refers to a set of habits that help to fall asleep successfully and sleep well. If you have any sleep disorders or are willing to improve your quality of sleep, try to observe the habits that promote healthy sleep.
When to consult a specialist about sleep disorders
Our daily routines – eating and drinking habits, medications used, daily plan and the way we spend the evening – have a big impact on our sleep. If you suffer from long-term sleep disorders that affect your quality of life, you can definitely consult a specialist, who will help you develop and maintain your own set of habits – sleep hygiene – to change it.
Before consulting a specialist, we invite you to fill in a sleep diary for at least 2 weeks. A sleep diary will help the specialist to better understand your habits, lifestyle, etc. in order to find an individual solution just for you.
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