The Essential Part of Sleeping Well The Essential Part of Sleeping Well

To awake with recharged batteries you have no need of magic formulas. The key is observing habits and preparing well for sleep.

Advisors María Eugenia Toro – MD Neurologist
Miguel Dávila- MD Neurologist, 
Specialist in Sleep Medicine 
and Neurophysiologist

Before reading this article from beginning to end take some time to answer this question: ¿how much time do to you take to promote an adequate ambiance for sleeping? Many people are not even aware whether they prepare their room or not and there may be some who take it that this task consists only in unmaking the bed and getting into comfortable clothes. The reason for this question is simple: obtaining a repairing and healthy sleep requires a ritual. It is similar as the one used for bathing, getting dressed, putting on your make up and other such. Preparing for rest is an important issue towards good health.

The absence of sleep or even sleeping without reaching a repairing sleep causes not only physical but also mental tiredness. As a result of mental tiredness come failure in concentration, mistakes due to carelessness, alterations in memory, inadequate making of decisions and even episodes or micro sleep in activities that require total attention, such as driving a car, for example. It is well known, also, that irritability and bad humor are characteristics pertinent to those who have not slept well.

Health and Insomnia, Opposites

Some investigations in the Circulation and Sleep review talk about greater cardiovascular risk when sleeping is deficient. Nevertheless, María Eugenia Toro Pérez, Neurologist from the Neurological Institute of Colombia, warns that there are two viewpoints from which to regard this issue. “It is often said that the person that sleeps too much is also at risk. But the question arises whether the person had a preexisting condition of cardiovascular risk, which is precisely why he sleeps badly. Lack of sleep is even associated to depressive states. But then the same question arises, it could be that a sleeping disorder initiates as a symptom of depression.” Other conditions linked to insomnia or the bad quality of rest in adults, are diabetes and hypertension.

On its part, it is noteworthy that during the night’s rest there is a phase that is profound sleeping and in children is related to the production of a growth hormone (somatropin). Therefore, if a child does not sleep well, it results in alterations of his growth.

Sleep to Live

For Miguel Dávila Silva, MD Neurologist Specialist in Sleep Medicine and Neurophysiologist, not sleeping is incompatible with life and the most convincing proof of that is seen in babies: “If you deprive a newborn child abruptly and totally from sleep, it is probable that he will die within a week. The brain needs to sleep. In newborn infants, sleep is fundamental in the maturing process of the brain that is why they sleep from 18 to 20 hours.  This process helps in the formation of myelin in the brain a substance that allows for the electric conduction of the neurons. At 2 year of age they begin presenting with very similar characteristics to the adult and this begins to change as age advances. We are almost born asleep and we end almost sleepless, but that is not what is desirable.”

Technology Allied with Sleep

Just as the mobile phone is, on occasions, a disruptor of sleep it also has tools to promote rest. Using the movement detector some apps monitor sleep patterns and also help awaken the person in the light phase of sleep, to avoid feeling heaviness when getting up. Some of these tools are integrated into the clock of the cell phone and you can program them with a reminder to indicate that it is time to go to bed as well as the possibility of using the volume and the preferred sound to wake up. Other apps show, in groups, the phases of sleep, for example, the time you have rested along days, weeks, months or years

To monitor our rest, in addition, some use the microphone of the mobile device to analyze our sleep during the night and identify whether the person talks or snores while he sleeps. This is why the mobile phone must remain in the bedroom close to the person. In this way the alarm will activate during the lighter phase of sleep before the main alarm sounds. This is a plus feature if you do not wish to wake up abruptly.

There are additional elements: apps that analyze the influence of alcohol, caffeine, tobacco on our daily rest periods and at the same time have available natural and relaxing sounds to sleep better and more profoundly. For those having trouble getting up there are certain apps that ask the person to solve mathematical problems or count sheep to put out the alarm.

The Route to Repairing Sleep

¡Attention to The Lights!

When it’s time to go to bed, the ideal thing is to dim the lights to promote sleep and finally conciliate it when everything is dark. “Melatonin helps for a more continuous and profound sleep and this happens when the lights are turned out,” explains Toro.

Distance the Noise

Our hearing is one of the senses that takes the longest to fade away when one is going to sleep, therefore, exposure to noise can take us out of a profound sleep.

Beware Caffeine

Some people can take coffee and have no trouble conciliating sleep. Nonetheless, the neurologist warns us that for most people caffeine is a stimulant whose intake is not recommendable after five o’clock in the afternoon.

If There Is Insomnia, Avoid Naps

Taking a nap will subtract from you night rest and conciliating sleep will be more difficult.

No Stimulating Activities

Before going to sleep you must avoid intellectual or emotional activities such as the ones carried out on mobile phones and computers.  “Each time the brain is stimulated, it becomes more entertained and this makes sleeping all the more difficult,” alleges Toro.

Better Avoid Eating and Sleeping Right Away

As a way to favor digestion and decrease the possibility of Gastro-Esophageal reflux, the recommendation is to eat two hours before going to bed.

Watch Over Your Temperature

Avoid very cold rooms or very hot rooms to help you conciliate sleep easily.

There Is Time for Everything

The time to take care of pending issues must not coincide with the moment in which we go to bed.

¿Yes or No?

If there is insomnia, the advice is to carry out physical activity at a time far removed from bedtime.

Looking at the Clock Does Not Help

This recommendation goes especially to those people suffering from insomnia. Do not look at the clock, just set the alarms in order to avoid the anguish of not sleeping.

6 to 9 hours are adequate for a repairing sleep. Nonetheless, this varies from person to person.

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