Adequate sleep along with healthy eating, daily physical exercise, no tobacco use, and no harmful use of alcohol are essential for optimal health. Adults need between 8-9 hours of sleep, daily, but children generally need more hours of sleep. It is important to note that for sleep to be restorative it should not only be the recommended quantity but should also be quality sleep each night. The circadian rhythm is the internal built-in sleep-wake cycle which induces sleep typically at nights and also causes us to awaken in the morning.
Disturbance of this rhythm can be affected by external factors which delay the natural cues for sleep. The temperature of the room, the presence of light and noise levels will define whether one can fall asleep and stay asleep. Day-time activities and events can disturb night time sleep patterns.
Over-stimulation during the day includes excessive exposure to loud sound, prolonged use of electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, laptops and computer screens. Sleeping with these electronic gadgets is not a good idea.
Stressful situation will also cause us to lose sleep. This happens when there is the passing of a loved one or a family member is seriously ill especially when it is a child.
There is no one treatment or therapy that works for all sleep-deprived individuals. Medications have the often undesirable effect of creating addictive use and are subject to abuse by users. Psychotherapy and behavior modification using cognitive behavior therapy, hypnosis, and self-hypnosis have been used successfully by some individuals. Sleep aid gadgets help to check physiological and environmental cues that prepare us to fall and stay asleep.
Mobile apps allow for self-monitoring and retraining to correct those habits that contribute to sleep disturbances.
Tips to improve the Quality of Sleep
- Avoid watching the television and using computer devices before bedtime
- Create a cool, quiet, and dark bedroom for bedtime
- Get to bed an hour earlier to bat sleep deprivation
- Increase servings of fruits and vegetables
- Have a variety of colorful foods
- Drink adequate water to keep hydrated
- Have light meals in the evening
- Avoid toxic habits and stimulants (harmful use of alcohol, smoking,caffeine)
- Stress management/Mental wellness
- Practice time management, prioritizing activities, and take short breaks during the day
- Talk therapy will help you to work through your issues
- Create work-life balance, do not neglect to take an annual vacation
A special note on Sleep disorder
This is a medical condition with manifestations of abnormal sleep patterns. Some types of sleep disorder include; insomnia; sleep apnea; nightmares, night terror; restless legs syndrome; narcolepsy; sleep walking; sleep talking and Sleep paralysis. These disorders require therapy and may even require prescription medication.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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