Improve Your Sleep Performance

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Improve Your Sleep Performance

Written by Aochealth Team

Aochealth is a trusted guide to the healthy living website. Our mission is to provide health knowledge that you can use to help yourself and your loved ones.

April 24, 2020

It is your human need to get adequate sleep after spending the day in school or at work. Listen to your body when it shows tiredness from physical activities. Within 24 hours, it is natural for your eyes to wake up in daylight and sleep at night.

For this topic, you will know these:

1. Sleep duration for each life stage

Sleep duration for each life stage

Your age is a huge factor in how long you need to sleep every night.

LIFE STAGE AGE SLEEP DURATION
Baby 0-3 months 14 to 17 hours
  4-11 months 12 to 15 hours
Child 1-2 years 11 to 14 hours
School Child 3-5 years 10 to 13 hours
  6-13 years 9 to 11 hours
Adolescence 14-17 years 8 to 10 hours
Adults 18-64 years 7 to 9 hours
  65 years and up 7 to 8 hours

Depending on which life stage you belong to, medical authorities say that the feeling of drowsiness during the day is a sign of lack of sleep.

2. When you sleep below the recommended hours

When you sleep below the recommended hours

Your body responds to how long you slept in the past few nights. Chances are, lacking the suitable duration, tempts it to sleep more in the coming nights. You will feel that during the day, your energy goes down. When this occurs, experience poorer judgment and slower time for a response. Observe these signals while you are awake, which shows that you need more sleep.

  • While doing activities with low energy such as watching a movie or riding in a car, you get sleepy.
  • A microsleep or quick period of sleep occurs in the day.
  • Tend to forget about things and events
  • As you lie down, it only takes five minutes to fall asleep.
  • Your mood is different.
  • You lack concentration while doing a task.

These are the effects on your body when you lack sleep.

  • You feel depressed and not show your usual disposition.
  • There is more sense of pain in your body.
  • Below your eyes, dark circles and skin with wrinkles appear.
  • You have a hard time making the right decisions.
  • Your immune system gets weaker and may cause sickness.
  • It is possible to develop high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, or obesity.
  • There is a tendency to eat beyond standard capacity.

From these responses of your body, we can establish the harm that a lack of sleep generates. It is worse than drinking an excessive alcoholic beverage. When your body is not functioning normally, and you drink this beverage, there will be more trouble. For instance, it is best to be a passenger in feeling sleepy. Driving under the influence of alcohol and, at the same time, not alert may cause an accident. It is not enough to be awake with the intake of caffeine.

Based on the National Sleep Foundation, these are signs of sleepiness to prevent road trouble.

  • Your eyes have a hard time for focus.
  • A few miles driven are challenging to remember.
  • Your head keeps on falling.
  • A lot of yawning occurs.
  • You keep on thinking about other things.
  • You move from one lane to another.

3. How to sleep better

How to sleep better

To do your daily activities naturally, practice healthy habits for improved sleep.

  • Give time for regular hours of sleep. This means prioritizing tasks from more to least important. In the morning, when you are most active, do the hardest jobs. Prepare your body to sleep at night by doing the lightest tasks.
  • Make your room conducive for sleep. Turn off the lights, including computers and mobile phones. It is best to let the room temperature be cold. Sleep in a peaceful and relaxing room.
  • Have regular exercise and keep it up to five hours before sleep. At most, a routine of 30 minutes will be suitable.
  • Seek your physician’s advice. Perhaps, you have a sickness that prevents you from sleeping well.
  • Establish a regular time for sleep. Train your body to sleep at the same time every night. By doing so, it will prepare itself to lie down.
  • Make it a habit to relax your body a few hours before sleep. Eat the lightest meal at dinner. Refrain from alcoholic beverages and caffeine. Bathe in warm water at night.
  • During the day, a light nap up to 30 minutes will be appropriate to keep you awake for the rest of the activities.

4. Your sleep cycle

Your sleep cycle

As you lie down for the night, your sleep cycle will have two kinds of sleep. During non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the first stage takes five to 10 minutes. Waking you up is comfortable with closed eyes.

Moving on to the second stage, your rest remains light. At this stage, they feel a slower heart rate and lower body temperature. Soon, your eyes will fall into a deep sleep.

When this occurs, you have fallen asleep and get surprised to wake up. Currently, your body tissues grow, and there is a repair of your body. Feel a more robust immune system in this stage.

Also, your muscles and bones build themselves. As you move up the life stage, deep sleep is less. This also means that your need for sleep goes down.

Your sleep cycle goes to the REM stage that begins an hour and 30 minutes after a deep sleep. It occurs for 10 minutes during the first period. The time extends as this stage gets longer. In reaching the last period, the duration becomes 60 minutes.

Experience a quicker heart rate and breathing. For this stage, you have dreams with active thoughts. Half of the sleep of babies belongs to this stage. On the other hand, adults experience it 20% only.

5. Dreams in your sleep

Dreams in your sleep

As you sleep, you tend to dream. These are images that may be happy or sad. Vivid ones occur during REM sleep. It is possible to have four to six dreams during your sleep.

When it becomes lucid, you know about it. This occurs when you awake from this kind of sleep.

In the presence of harmful elements, your dream turns into a nightmare. Children and adults experience it. Some factors cause this: fear, stress, and trouble, handling weak emotions, sickness, trauma, or medicines.

The presence of repeated nightmares is a sign of the subconscious. Feel relieved that a nightmare will only remain in your dream.

However, some factors prevent you from having an idea during your sleep cycle. These include:

  • presence of higher tension
  • getting depressed
  • weak coordination
  • ability to hallucinate
  • being anxious
  • hard time for focus
  • getting heavier

Your goals appear for problem-solving, handle feelings, and preserve fond memories. Your goal can go on for 30 minutes. Before sleep, you keep on thinking about a concern. Perhaps, when you wake up, a solution arises.

After rest, you may also feel better in handling it. This is because your thought process got better while asleep. Thus, having a dream lets you realize a better solution.

According to Sigmund Freud, a famous psychologist, your goal reflects your thoughts, desires, and motivations. When you remember what you were dreaming of, it may be funny, odd, or happy. Since it is from your fantasy, there is no connection to reality. A dream can keep on appearing. There are different interpretations of dreams.

But these are only beliefs. In instances that your vision becomes a reality, it is only a coincidence or involuntary relation to the given information.

When you wake up, it is hard to recall your dream. The ability to do so means that it appeared in the last stage of your sleep.

6. Your circadian rhythm

Your circadian rhythm

Known as your circadian rhythm, this creates mental and physical modifications in your body. The patterns of your sleep come from it because of hormones, diet, and temperature. When an imbalance exists, it affects your body and causes sickness.

There is a “master clock” found in your hypothalamus and belongs to the head. Activities within your body create this rhythm, and external factors also affect it. When your body senses light, it makes you active. As darkness surrounds you, it allows your body to relax.

This “master clock” and your eyes connect to nerves. At night, your body produces the hormone called melatonin. It causes your drowsiness and encourages sleep. When daytime is back, melatonin decreases and brings forth activity.

Depending on your circadian rhythm, you become more alert at certain times. An early bird can wake up very early and known as “lark.” On the other hand, a night owl stays active at night.

There is more sleep in the morning. As your life stage goes up, your rhythm also adjusts. It is your choice how to modify it, but it is better to do so gradually.

There are times when your body seems to have a wrong response. This happens when your typical rhythm gets out of track. Factors that cause this include:

  • Longer sleep than the usual hours. It is better that you maintain a regular time for rest and waking up.
  • When you travel in different time zones, your body adjusts to this new rhythm. Jet lag occurs when you are still awake but supposed to be asleep in your original time zone. Give your body more time to respond better.
  • Put a limit on your screen time. Stop usage when you sleep in the next two to three hours.
  • Block lights outside that distract you from sleeping well. Do so by putting dark curtains or blinds. You may also wear a sleep mask.
  • Working at night regularly lets you sleep during the day. Thus, this makes your body alert at night instead. For this scenario, it is possible to have shift work disorder.
  • When a female has her period, she tends to have a hard time with sleep. This is because of the abdominal pain that she may experience. To cope with it, do regular exercise before and after the period. This relieves the pain.
  • Both genders may experience abnormal breathing regardless of age and weight. This condition is known as obstructive sleep apnea. The inner throat has a smaller size. There is blocking of the airway.
  • In the first three months of pregnancy, the hormone known as progesterone causes fatigue. When the ninth month comes, sleep gets hard because of the enlarged womb. Different emotions of the future mother keep her awake. The presence of severe sleep apnea may cause harm to the fetus.
  • When you have restless legs syndrome, possible factors are kidney trouble, lack of iron and vitamins, medicines, nerve sickness, and pregnancy. There is a gene that creates a minimum of 40% of this condition.
  • Kids in pre-school who have nightmares have difficulty staying asleep. As for adults, they may have emotional trouble.
  • Babies who have reached four months want a feeding first to sleep.
  • Caffeine intake and cigarette smoking cause you to sleep less.
  • Trying to sleep for a long time is a possible sign of anxiety and depression.
  • Trouble in your lungs or heart causes difficulty in breathing while lying down.

7. Talk to your physician

Consult your doctor

After experiencing any of the factors mentioned above as to why you find it hard to sleep in a recurring pattern, it is probably time to talk to your physician about it. The presence of a sleep disorder is psychological or physical.

When you find yourself tired a lot of the time during the day, this is a sign. It stops you from doing daily activities and enjoying life with others. You need to note down your sleeping habits. This is in the form of a sleep diary.

By reading it, your physician will know the cause of your sleep trouble.

Gaining knowledge about sleep will improve your daily routine so that your body gets enough. As an adult or with a kid, practice a regular sleep cycle for a definite circadian rhythm. When you still find it hard to sleep well, seek your physician’s advice.

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