We spend a third of our life sleeping, but too many people underestimate its importances. “To sleep well, you must first get some sleep”, says Antonio Vela, Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Madrid, specializing in neurology and neurophysiology. There are studies made a few years ago in Spain found that 30% of the population suffers from insomnia. A similar convey conducted by the World Health Organization also states that 40% of the population can not rest well.
Here are some factors that can help you achieve targeted quality of sleep, but not everyone is influenced in the same way. Some topics, such as the need for an eight-hour sleep to rest well, also seem to demystify everyone. There is nothing like self – observation and experimentation. By the way, sleep alone or accompanied also affects the rest. For more about your sleeping buddies, visit www.bedtimefriends.com.
1. No light
To regulate the hormonal system, it is essential that the room is dark, with no lights, no windows through which light from the streetlights can disturb our sleep. An eye mask may help. The pineal gland is sensitive to light. When it gets darker, the pineal gland secretes more melatonin (also known as the sleep hormone) which induces the state of relaxation and drowsiness. It is a hormone that regulates sleep. So, if there is light at night, melatonin will segregate less while you need more to rest well. At sunrise, segregation is inhibited, and the level of serotonin increases resulting in melatonin production. The intensity of the artificial light at night in cities does not help regulate the natural sleep cycle. This characteristic of our time and culture nightlife have changed the patterns of sleep. Natural rhythms are disrupted.
2. The myth of the eight-hour sleep
An eight-hour sleep can be counterproductive. At least that is what emerges from an investigation conducted by the American Cancer Society and Daniel Kriped, emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, in an article published in 2002 in Archives of General Psychiatry. One million and one hundred thousand people participated in this study for six years. It was focused on the sleeping hours and their relation to the frequency of sleep disorders such as insomnia and other possible consequences. The results were surprising because they found that people who sleep seven hours each night have a lower death rate than those who sleep eight hours or more.
That is apparently wise saying that dividing the day ideally into three: eight hours for work, eight hours for free time and the remaining eight hours to rest. For some people who do not work and others who have too many hours of free time, some experts state that sleeping for eight hours is not ideal. In this study, almost half of people slept eight hours or more.
“The old idea that the optimal duration of sleep is eight hours is not scientifically based “, says Daniel Kriped. Then he adds that the risk of increased mortality as a result of an increase in sleep could be related to “sleep apnea” which could block the patient’s breathing and cause serious health disorders. In the above study, rates of risk of mortality among women who regularly slept for seven hours were 13% lower than those who slept for eight hours, 23% less than those who slept for nine hours and 41% lower than those who slept for ten hours. In the case of men, the rates were down to 12%, 17% and 34%, compared to those who slept for eight, nine and ten hours respectively.
In short, too much sleep can be counterproductive. By the same token, if you believe that to achieve the long life, you would not have to sleep att all, it is also wrong. Sleep deprivation is also dangerous. Daniel Kriped notes that women who slept for only five hours, increased the risk rate by 5%, while in men, this percentage is 11%. He concludes that sleeping for an average of 4.5 hours results in lower mortality rate than half of the study sample who slept for eight hours or more. According to this study, the ideal time to have a low mortality rate is between 6.5 hours and 7.4 hours.
The debate over an eight-hour sleep does not stop here. Some studies corroborate while others reach different conclusions. Some experts do not agree with above study and say that depends on each person and, of course, age. “The hours you need to sleep, like the color of your hair, is determined largely by genetics”, says Matthew Edlund, specializing in biological rhythms of rest, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine in Florida. Edlund mentions some studies three years ago, in 2009, with a mother and a daughter with a rare version of the DEC2 gene, which affects the rhythms circadian (natural internal rhythms of the body). “These studies showed that both (mother and daughter) often sleep from 10 pm to 4 am that means six hours – the ideal amount of time for sleep in the previous study. But the result was not expected as in the study. This same expert points out that if you want a reference, for babies, the amount of time for sleep is between 16 and 18 hours, for children 2 to 4 years is 12 hours, for 4 to 6-year-old children is 12 hours, 6 to 11-year-old kids need between 10 and 11 hours, and children from 11 to 14 years need nine hours, children from 15 years old need between 7 and 8 hours. But older people can drop to six hours. But he insists that each person is different. Matthew Edlund points out that he has a colleague who just needs sleep two to three hours a day to relax. But as he gets older, sometimes he prefers to sleep for four hours.
3. Food and drink
Experts recommend dinner at least 90 minutes before going to sleep (a meal that does not cause indigestion). Also, they advised not to sleep with hunger. It would not help you rest either. When dining, best foods fulfill the dual condition of light and rich in tryptophan, an amino acid associated with the production of melatonin – the hormone of sleep mentioned in the previous point. Avoid sweet. They may cause blood sugar spikes that then become hypoglycemia, which will not let you rest well. Moreover, it is also recommended to avoid exciting drinks such as colas, coffee, and tea.