One thing that is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is sleep. According to an article published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “we spend about one-third of our life either sleeping or attempting to do so.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation, scientists say that the proper amount of sleep can range anywhere from 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night for teenagers ages 14-17 years old up to adults aged 65+ years. Newborns and toddlers require a total of 11 to 17 hours of sleep a night. It is important for people to get the required hours of sleep to maintain health and productivity in society and do well throughout their day. Sleeping for longer periods of time allows your body to enter a REM cycle, the deepest part of your sleep where your most vivid dreams are. The REM cycle is essential to the brain because it stimulates essential learning processes of the brain and helps store memory. According to the National Institutes of Health, “REM sleep makes up about 25% of your sleep cycle and first occurs about 70 to 90 minutes after you fall asleep. Because your sleep cycle repeats, you enter REM sleep several times during the night”. REM cycles also help increase creativity and are scientifically proven to help the brain retain information the person learned before they fell asleep, a necessary tool for studying.
Lack of sleep is also associated with drastic health problems. Insufficient sleep can cause you to gain weight, decrease concentration and productivity, decrease exercise performance and increase the risk for strokes, heart disease and diabetes. When people, especially children, do not receive the proper amount of sleep each night it can affect brain development, the ability to learn and overall have negative effects on their health and wellness.
But all sleep is not made equal. It is important to enter a deep, long and good sleep to rejuvenate and replenish the body. The best way to ensure you get the best sleep is to make it a priority. Making a sleep schedule and sticking to it can ensure a good night’s rest every night. Environment also plays a big role in getting a good night’s sleep. The best sleep is found in the most comfortable setting, this means evaluating the temperature, lighting, sound and even air quality. Adding a comfortable bed and pillows also encourages a deeper, more relaxing sleep. Another tip is to try and avoid caffeine, alcohol, drugs and electronics. These all can play a role in distracting the mind before bed. So while you stay up studying for your finals or doing homework in the next couple nights, remember sleep is one of the best things for you and is necessary for doing well.