Why Sleep Is So Important
In past generations, unless you had insomnia or a new baby, you generally got enough sleep. Now, there are more reasons to stay up late. Also, most people are looking at a screen while they are delaying bedtime. Unfortunately, the blue light from device screens contributes to insomnia because it makes the brain think it's time to wake up.
That old saying about getting enough beauty sleep is still true, though.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
Adults need at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. The amount of rest can vary a bit between individuals, but the answer should be easy whenever you ask yourself, "How much sleep do I need?" Do you feel rested or groggy in the morning? Do you wake up on your own, or are you sound asleep when the alarm goes off? Do people ever comment that you look tired? Finally, do you rely heavily on caffeine to get you through the day?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, you probably need more sleep than you are getting. There are several things you can think about and possibly change if you would like to get a full night's deep sleep.
The first, of course, is to go to bed earlier. Before going to bed, avoid watching or listening to anything disturbing like the news. Also, stay off your devices or put them into night mode. This mode will change the blue light to an amber color which won't stimulate your brain.
The best rooms to sleep in are cool and dark. Lower your thermostat and consider purchasing light-blocking curtains if you live in the city where bright light comes into your window or the morning sun awakens you.
If your neighborhood or building is noisy, consider a white noise machine or earplugs. You won't need to worry about sleeping through your alarm if you set it to vibrate and put it under your pillow.
Is Beauty Sleep Real?
Yes, beauty sleep is a real thing and involves more than just looking sleepy if you don't rest enough. You probably know that while you sleep, your body does repairs. If you don't sleep long enough, the repairs won't be finished by the time you wake up.
Failing to repair damage can result in many unpleasant conditions like wrinkles, breakouts and under-eye circles. These are typically the very things that make unrested people look tired. It's bad enough to go through a day not looking your best. However, going for long periods of time without getting enough sleep can make these conditions permanent.
Many will spend a lot of money on potions or procedures to reverse the wrinkles and other skin conditions when all they really have to do is get enough sleep.
How Does Sleep Help the Brain?
Sleep doesn't just repair the face. Your brain needs enough sleep too. Without it, your brain will have trouble learning new concepts, which is especially bad for students.
Lack of sleep also affects coordination, which is one reason that it's not a good idea to drive on too little sleep. Another driving problem is that your brain could just decide enough is enough and make you go to sleep whether you're behind the wheel or not.
So far, the record for going without sleep is around 11 days. However, damage (maybe irreparable damage) will occur after only missing one hour of sleep per night. People who have gone for long periods of time without sleep, for whatever reason, are reported as demonstrating behavioral changes and hallucinations. Even worse, when they started sleeping normally again, some were never the same.
Lack of sleep can't be fixed with an extra cup of coffee. Sleep is not a waste of time but is just as important as other things done for health, like eating properly and drinking enough water. Take a look at your daily routines and see if you can get more sleep starting tonight.