Modern life leaves little time for proper rest and quality sleep. Many people cannot afford even those necessary 7–8 hours of sleep per day due to the fact that it is difficult to fall asleep in the evenings and get up early in the morning. Often this is due to an excess of emotional events and stresses in people’s lives against the background of an acute lack of physical activity, which does not allow the body to relax normally in the evening. In addition, due to changes in life, the release of sleep hormones, which help in falling asleep, is disrupted.
Hormones and night rest
It is known that as day and night change in nature, a person should also experience changes in the cycles of sleep and wakefulness. The human body and its hormones, metabolic processes adjust to the daily rhythms of nature. And for sleep, as well as for activity and wakefulness, certain hormones are responsible, the leading one of which is melatonin. It is produced at night, when a person is sleeping, and a decrease in its concentration is caused by lighting. Accordingly, a change in the rhythm of work — night shifts, late work, irregular schedules — lead to sleep disturbance due to a violation of the production of this hormone. In addition to this substance, the quality and quantity of sleep is affected by sex hormones, adrenaline and its analogues, as well as growth hormone and endorphins. Changes in the balance of these substances, distortions towards one or the other eventually lead to disorders in the processes of falling asleep and reduce the quality of sleep.
Sleep Disorders: Should They Be Treated?
Full and high-quality sleep of a certain duration is an essential need of the body. During sleep, the body rests, and the nervous system undergoes a “reboot” and restructuring of its work, preparing for a new day. According to surveys, insomnia is typical for most of the adult population, but no more than 13–15% of people consider it a problem and see a doctor about sleep problems. Scientists distinguish two types of insomnia:
- Acute, in which sleep suffers no more than two to three months,
- Chronic, when disorders of the processes of falling asleep and the quality of sleep suffer for many months or years.
Both of these conditions require at least a consultation with a neurologist or a somnologist, and in some cases, medical treatment of sleep disorders is also necessary. A constant lack of sleep leads to the formation of neurological and somatic pathologies, exacerbates the effect of stress on the body and reduces life expectancy.
Causes of disorders: stress, lack of exercise, nutrition and more
Many people know this feeling when, after a hard day, when going to bed in a state of extreme fatigue, sleep simply does not “go”. The reason for this is stress, overexcitation of the nervous system and constant disturbing thoughts that do not allow you to fall asleep. Stress is also aggravated by a lack of full-fledged physical activity, so that the body spends energy and gets tired in order, thereby setting itself up for proper rest at night. Usually those problems that are caused by stress or unrest are eliminated on their own, after haunting events are removed from life.
Another reason for sleep disturbances is the failure of a person’s internal clock associated with the advent of artificial lighting, numerous gadgets and the rhythm of life. This leads to the fact that the production of hormones responsible for the change of sleep-wake cycles suffers, which leads to insomnia. Lack of sleep is in itself a stress for the body, which aggravates the general condition, nervousness and leads to the development of pathologies.
Physical activity for sound sleep
Any person knows that after an active day spent in motion or in nature, one sleeps much better. This is due to active physical activity against the background of sufficient oxygen supply to the tissues, which helps to actively expend energy and get tired. Yes, for a good sleep, fatigue is necessary, and this is facilitated by physical activity, which is sharply lacking in the usual life spent in the office, borrowing transport or driving your own car. Before going to bed, you need to carefully ventilate the room so that you sleep better, and ideally, also a walk in the fresh air. If you also include physical activity in your schedule 3–4 hours before bedtime, this will significantly improve falling asleep and the quality of night rest. It is also worth refusing to watch TV and gadgets, computer games in the evening.
Why is inadequate night rest of the body dangerous?
At night, the body and nervous system need proper rest, and if you deprive the body of quality sleep, this will invariably affect the general condition and health. According to doctors, reducing the individual norm of night rest and sleep by just one hour a day leads to a change in the activity of about 400 genes that are responsible for the formation of diabetes, hypertension, immune disorders and endocrine metabolism. And constant shift work, long gatherings with friends, watching movies and TV shows until late — this is a conscious deprivation of oneself of a good rest.
If the next day there is no opportunity to sleep longer, you need to get up early, at least what such an inferior sleep can turn into — this is lethargy and reduced efficiency, as well as drowsiness during the daytime. With severe fatigue and chronic lack of sleep, such drowsiness can lead to tragedy — if, for example, a person falls asleep at the wheel.
Constant low-quality night rest threatens with headaches and pressure surges, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke several times. And even in the genesis of obesity, sleep deprivation also plays a significant role. However, constant sleep deprivation on weekdays followed by prolonged sleep on the weekends is not an option. Consistent sleep is important for health, and it’s better to go to bed and get up at the same time than to sleep off over the weekend. Excess sleep against the background of a preliminary chronic lack of sleep is just as dangerous as insomnia. it is important to change your usual schedule, if possible, by allocating enough time for sleep, giving up some evening activities.