At first glance, the importance of getting enough sleep seems like a no-brainer. We’ve all had those mornings when we wake up exhausted because we were up all night with a crying child or pulling an all-nighter to finish a project for work or school.
Unfortunately for some people, those nights of poor sleep are the rule, rather than the exception. This is particularly true of those who suffer from sleep apnea or other sleep disorders that keep them from enjoying quality, uninterrupted sleep.
Getting enough rest at night is about more than feeling refreshed and revitalized in the morning. Here is a closer look at why getting a good night’s sleep should always be a top priority.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
The amount of sleep a person needs will vary based on their stage of life — though generally speaking, you need less sleep as you get older. While newborns need 14 to 17 hours of sleep each day, it is recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
While certain events can sometimes throw off your sleep schedule (like needing to catch a red-eye flight for cross-country travel), you should aim to keep your sleep pattern consistent each night.
The Benefits of Good Sleep
Getting the recommended amount of sleep has significant benefits for your mind and body. Sleep helps your brain process the events of the day, including memories and emotions. When you’re well rested, you are better able to focus and learn new information. It also helps you have more positive reactions to everything that happens the next day. By regulating your hormones during sleep, you are less likely to overeat or experience mental health challenges like mood swings or depression.
Sleeping also plays a vital role in heart health. When your blood pressure naturally goes down during sleep, your heart is able to rest. With less sleep, your blood pressure stays elevated for a longer period, increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke. Glucose levels in the blood also drop during sleep, essentially providing a “reset” for your body that reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Quality sleep gives your body time to repair muscles, while also strengthening your immune cells. This ensures that you have energy and motivation for physical exercise, and that your body is properly equipped to fight off illnesses.
Sleep is ultimately the key to a happier, healthier life. When you consistently get plenty of rest, you will feel better and perform better in all areas. On the other hand, low-quality sleep will leave you excessively fatigued and prone to a wide variety of ailments.
Common Culprits Behind Poor Sleep
The causes of poor sleep can primarily be put into two categories: poor sleep hygiene and sleep disorders.
Sleep hygiene refers to the practices that make up your bedtime routine. For example, good sleep hygiene includes going to bed around the same time each night, and keeping your bedroom dark and cool so it is most conducive to sleep. On the other hand, if you stay up in bed scrolling through your smartphone, the blue light exposure is going to make it harder for you to fall asleep later.
Other bad habits could include consuming alcohol or caffeine shortly before bed, or continuing to sleep on an uncomfortable mattress. Poor sleep hygiene makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, leaving you tired and irritable the next day. However, you can make a concerted effort to replace these negative habits with good sleep practices to enjoy better sleep.
Sleep disorders, on the other hand, are less easily controlled. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder in which your breathing passages collapse during sleep. The lack of oxygen causes you to wake up choking and gasping for breath before falling asleep again. These events occur so quickly that many people do not realize they are struggling with sleep apnea. However, the frequent interruptions that occur throughout the night keep you from getting deep sleep or REM sleep needed to revitalize your mind and body.
Insomnia is perhaps the best known sleep disorder, in which someone has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. It can result from poor sleep hygiene, but chronic illnesses, anxiety and depression, and certain medications can also contribute to this disorder.
If you suspect that you have a sleep disorder, you should consult with your doctor to determine what can be done to improve your sleep quality. They will likely recommend a sleep study, which can be used to accurately diagnose sleep disorders so medical professionals can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
Control Sleep Apnea With a CPAP Machine
If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, few things will make a bigger difference for your sleep quality than a CPAP machine. By providing a continuous flow of pressurized air, these devices keep your airways from collapsing so you can enjoy uninterrupted sleep. When combined with other healthy sleep habits, using a CPAP machine will ultimately help you improve your health and well-being.
While purchasing a CPAP machine can seem expensive — particularly if you don’t have health insurance — Help Medical Supplies will make this much easier on your wallet. In addition to offering discounted prices on equipment from top brands like ResMed, you can get free shipping on orders over $89 and available financing on purchases over $500.
Few things are more important than a good night’s sleep — and with Help Medical Supplies, you can get one step closer to the quality rest you need.