Sleep management is how to optimize sleep. Getting enough quality sleep is essential for health and well-being. Sleep is as important as eating a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Importance of Sleep Management
Effective sleep management helps your body and mind to recharge. It leaves you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Optimal sleep also helps the body remain healthy and fight off diseases. With poor sleep management, your brain simply cannot function properly.
Benefits of Good Sleep Management
There is a link between quality sleep and lower inflammation in the body. A study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found a link between sleep deprivation and inflammatory bowel diseases.
The study showed that lack of sleep can contribute to these diseases. And that these diseases can contribute to sleep deprivation.
Higher Productivity and Sleep Management
Researchers found that sleep has links to several brain functions, including concentration, productivity, and cognition.
The link between mental health and sleep has been researched for a long time. One conclusion is that there is a link between lack of sleep and depression.
A study in JAMA Psychiatry examines traits of suicide deaths over 10 years. It concludes that lack of sleep is a contributing factor to many of these deaths.
Another study in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry suggests that people with insomnia have a higher likelihood of depression.
Improved Athletic Performance
Sleep has been shown to improve athletic performance. Numerous studies found that adequate sleep can enhance fine motor skills, reaction time, muscular power, muscular endurance, and problem-solving skills.
And lack of sleep may increase your likelihood of injury and decrease your motivation to exercise.
So, getting enough quality sleep may be what you need to take your marathon training to the next level.
Lower Risk of Weight Gain
The amount of time that Americans spend sleeping has steadily trended downward over the past decade. And for much of the same time period, the average body mass index (BMI) of Americans trended upward with elevated rates of obesity.
Researchers hypothesize about connections between weight and sleep. A number of studies suggest that less sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.
Sleep Management and Obesity
In children and adolescents, the link between sleep deprivation and increased obesity risk is well-established, although the reason for this link is still being debated. Insufficient sleep may lead to metabolic irregularities, things like unhealthy breakfast, and increased consumption of sugary, salty, and fatty foods.
But in adults, the link is less clear. While past studies suggest that less than 6 hours of sleep at night increases the likelihood of obesity, it is difficult to prove causation. Obesity can increase the risk of conditions like sleep apnea and depression. But it’s not clear whether less sleep is the cause of obesity or if obesity is causing people to get less sleep. Maybe it’s a mix of both.
Decreased Risk of Heart Disease
One risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting adequate rest each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself.
Doing so can reduce the chances of sleep-related conditions such as apnea and promote better overall heart health.
Improved Immune System
Sleep helps the body regenerate, repair, and recover. The immune system benefits from good sleep. Research shows that better sleep quality can help the body fight off infection.
Sleep is Essential for Health
Sleep is an important function that allows your mind and body to recharge, leaving you alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body stay healthy and fight off diseases. Without enough good sleep, the brain simply cannot function properly. This can weaken your ability to think clearly and concentrate.
How to Improve Sleep Management
Improving your sleep is vital. A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Studies show that inadequate sleep can have negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function.
Poor sleep can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children. In contrast, a good quality night’s sleep can help you eat fewer calories, maximize exercise, and be healthier.
How to Sleep Better
There is a formula for quality sleep, which means if you follow the steps correctly you should get the same result. Here are some tips to improve your sleep.
Create a Sanctuary for Sleep
Quality sleep requires the right space, the right gear, and the right mood.
The Right Mattress for You
The perfect mattress for you depends on you. It must be comfortable enough to relax but also firm enough to give your back the support it needs. This will most likely require a trip to a mattress store. Lay on all the beds. Test them out before you buy. It will be an investment to get the right bed, but you will feel healthier and happier.
The Right Pillow
Much like the mattress, your perfect pillow is unique to you. It should be comfy, but also supportive. Test out a bunch of different pillows to find the right one for you.
Your bedding actually plays an important role in quality sleep. Blankets, sheets, and pillow covers that are soft and comfortable will help to maintain a good sleep temperature throughout the night.
Perfect Sleep Temperature
Setting the right mood is important to quality sleep. And the temperature in the bedroom has a lot to do with that. The right temperature for you will vary, but research has found that quality sleep temperature is around 65 degrees. Studies show that a cooler room is more conducive to sleep for most people.
The Darker the Better
When it comes to your bedroom, too much light can interrupt your sleep and circadian rhythm. To block excess light try blackout curtains or a sleep mask to help you optimize your sleep.
The Perfect Sleep Mood
Noise has been proven to be disruptive to quality sleep. Some people drown out loud noises with a fan or white noise machine for constant, consistent sound throughout the night. Also, introducing relaxing scents like lavender essential oils can provide a soothing smell to create the perfect sleep mood.
Optimize Your Schedule
A quality night’s sleep doesn’t begin in the bedroom. There are things you can do throughout the day that can contribute to quality sleep.
Consistent Wake-Up Time
For your body to get used to a sleep routine, set a consistent time to wake up every day. Pick a time and stick to it.
Sleep is a formula. There is science-backed evidence on getting a quality night’s sleep. Budget your time so that you get the right amount of sleep every night. When you have a consistent wake-up time, you just work backward from that time to determine the optimal bedtime.
Naps are great. But taking naps throughout the day can make sleeping at night more difficult by throwing off your sleep schedule. Try to limit naps to the early afternoon for about 20-25 minutes.
Follow a Pre-Sleep Routine
Proper pre-sleep habits can contribute to a great night’s sleep. Again, consistency is important. Following the same pre-bed schedule and routine allows your body and mind to prepare to recharge and reset.
Making the transition from the hustle and bustle of the day to sleep requires some downtime. Try to set aside 30 minutes before bedtime to listen to calming music, do light stretching, or read a book to get your mind and body in the right mood for sleep.
Throughout the day you are exposed to blue light on your phone, tablet, and other electronic devices. Blue light in the evening tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, thus inhibiting melatonin production and reducing the quality of sleep. Most phones are now equipped with a feature that allows you to switch to a warm tone in the evening to help you wind down properly.
Detach from Tech
Set a buffer between tech and sleep. The light from tech devices can disrupt your melatonin production, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Try to disconnect from tech at least 30 minutes before lights out.
Daily Preparation for Sleep
There are things you can do during the day to help achieve a good night’s sleep. These are tips that can help you make quality sleep a new healthy habit.
Get some sunlight
Taking in some Vitamin D with sunlight helps to normalize your circadian rhythm and promote good sleep.
Moving your body throughout the day is beneficial overall, but it also helps to promote quality sleep. Try not to do intense training right before bed because it can hinder your body’s ability to settle down before bed.
Drinking caffeine during the day is fine. But the closer you get to bedtime, try to limit caffeine intake.
For more information on the ups and downs of caffeine read, Overweight Runners Guide to Caffeine.
Avoid Eating Late
Eating a late meal can make it more difficult to fall asleep. If you do need something before bed, try to eat something light.
Make Bed for Sleep and Sex Only
If you have a super comfy bed you may want to do more there. This can interrupt the mental association of the purpose of your bed and bedroom, sleep. Try to limit the bed and bedroom to sleep and sex.