Comfortable sleep is essential to normal living and productivity at work, study and other areas. The body is built in such a way that it obeys the law of diurnal variation, where each day is divided into two phases by light and the absence of it.
Daytime is the period when everywhere is bright, your body is full of energy at this time. This is the time you are usually required to go to work, school or other places of importance. However, in contrast, we have the nighttime, during which your body is required to shut down all activities.
Sleep is a complex process requiring the coordinated actions of the brain, certain hormones in the body and some contributions from the surrounding environment.
What regulates sleep?
During the night, the brain is inhibited by the constant action of the hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland. The pineal gland is a pea-sized gland located somewhere in the middle of your brain.
Melatonin, just like other hormones produced by the body does not need to be produced in very large amounts before it can cause its effects of inducing sleep in you. Hence, the very small pea-sized pineal gland is capable of putting the whole brain to sleep through the secretion of melatonin.
Melatonin production and release is influenced by darkness, secretions start to rise in the evening when darkness starts to set in, and peaks somewhere in the middle of the night. In the morning, the levels in the body drops so low that you do not feel sleepy anymore. This cycle repeats every day and it is referred to as the body's biological clock.
The body does all this because nature knows how important sleep and rest is for the body. And we all have come to realise how important sleep is.
According to the National Sleep Foundation guidelines, healthy adults are advised to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Children need even more sleep. Let's see some of the benefits of adequate sleep below;
Benefits of Good Sleep
Here are some of the benefits of good and adequate sleep:
- Sleep keeps your heart healthy
- Sleep reduces stress
- Sleep enhances memory
- Sleep can help control weight gain
- Sleep may reduce the risk of depression
- Sleep helps your brain clean up
- Sleep helps the body heals
- Sleep can help maximize athletic performance
- Sleep reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer
- Sleep enhances your immunity
- Sleep reduces inflammation
- Sleep enhances your emotions and social interactions
You may want to ask how sleep does any or all of the above. Yeah, I know that but in this post, I've got something very important for you. I'm too excited I can't wait to let you know about it.
So, what next?
According to a survey of 4,023 U.S. adults carried out by Consumer Reports, 27 per cent of these individuals had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep on most nights. A similar survey using a larger sample of the American population showed that 68 per cent - or an estimated 164 million Americans - struggle with sleep at least once a week.
According to Natana Raj, an analyst with BCC Research in Wellesley, Mass, Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies in 2015, and this cost was expected to grow to $52 billion by 2020. This value was surpassed greatly in 2020. In 2020, Americans spent $825,559,397 on melatonin supplements alone. This is aside from other types of sleep aids.
Another study conducted by Lu Li et al, among 82,055 Chinese University students in 2016 showed that a significant number of these students had short sleep duration and unhealthy sleep patterns. These patterns included bedtime after midnight (23.8 per cent), sleep latency of more than 30 minutes (25.5 per cent) and sleep less than 6 hours per day (8.4 per cent).
But you would want to ask, why do people have so many problems with sleep and what are the solutions to these problems? Or even more closely, you could be having problems with sleep yourself. Here are some reasons why you may not be getting good sleep and some ways you can handle it.
Reasons People Have Difficulty Getting Sleep
Sleep problems include a broad range of causes; including medical causes, emotional and psychological factors, effects of drugs, stress, pressure from work, etc.
One other important factor that affects the quality of sleep is sleeping conditions. By sleeping conditions, I mean a comfortable bed, a comfortable accommodation, and importantly a comfortable cooling pillow.
Some of the best interventions you could ever have are those little things. Spending a whole fortune on melatonin pills, or buying drugs a whole year just to get good sleep may not be the best interventions.
How To Get a Good Sleep
Not as if there is nothing else to say about sleep and its problems, but at this point, I will be giving you some solutions to having a great sleep and a bonus afterwards. Here are some things to try;
- Listen to calm music
- Consciously try to stop wild thoughts while you lie closing your eyes
- Avoid breaking your sleep cycle
- Be at peace
- Go to a comfortable sleeping place
- Get an Avolare Cooling Pillow [Bonus]
Listen to Calm Music
Listening to calm music has been shown to help as a sleep aid. Calm music has a way of relaxing the nerves, it sends a neural signal to the brain that everything is okay. The five senses of taste, hearing, sight, touch and smell all have pathways of direct interaction with the brain. They are the one link the brain has to the outside world, so if you are going to make the brain believe something, it has to go through these channels.
In a survey done in over 500 patients with a sleep disorder, over 50 per cent of them reported using music as a sleep aid. In a meta-analysis by Jespersen et al, done on 314 sleep patients, music was observed to help improve subjective sleep quality in insomnia patients. It is an effective way of getting good sleep and even more, interestingly, it is almost entirely free.
Consciously try to stop wild thoughts while you lie closing your eyes
Personally, I use this one a lot. With this, I can sleep at almost any time of the day, when I am less busy. I have recommended this to some friends and they can attest to its effectiveness. However, there remains one major challenge to this method. Many people find it difficult to do.
1. Thoughts about your tasks and activities: These tend to be really intense and energy-requiring. They may want to make you get up from the bed and continue working from where you stopped.
Both of these kinds of though can affect your sleep and how fast you fall asleep when you need to. The tip here is that you must find a way to block these thoughts from occupying your mind when you want to sleep.
Avoid breaking your sleep cycle
At varying times, we are all guilty of this. Long days at work, much work at hand, big books to study and then we all end up destroying our sleep cycles because we can't afford to sleep when we have so much left. It has been noted that many people use certain pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods to suppress sleep, including stimulants drugs and drinks like caffeine-containing drinks. These only succeed in breaking their sleep cycle, in which case, they do not find sleep when it normally comes.
Be at peace with yourself
Not everything goes well for everybody. Almost every time, there are some things you may have done wrong, or some problems you may currently be facing. These could affect the quality of sleep you get. If there is any problem bothering your mind, you have to assure yourself that all will be fine because they will actually be. Why would you deprive yourself of quality sleep over things that are past, when you can relax and move on to face better things ahead?
Go to a comfortable sleeping place
As far as sleep is concerned, there is nothing better than finding a great accommodation to rest your head. When people struggle with sleep in an official gathering, they are usually required to stand and take a walk around the hall or somewhere else. This is because physical comfort in terms of where to lie on and otherwise, greatly affect the quality of your sleep. You can't be complaining about a lack of good sleep when you are constantly lying in the wrong places. Can you?
Drop your cellphone
Studies have shown that cellphone use is one of the commonest causes of sleep problems among University students. There are high chances that up to 95 per cent of young people who have smartphones are operating it right now. Research reveals that the presence of an electronic device, smartphones or TV in the room has been associated with poor sleep. So, if you are looking for great sleep, without ever going to buy sleep drugs, you should begin with dropping your phone or switch off your television games.
Get an Avolare Cooling Pillow Case [Bonus]
I promised you this, and I am going to fulfil it now. If you are going to find a good, enjoyable sleep, you will need a comfortable pillow to lay your head. But even more to that, a great pillow would require a great pillow cover, right?
The functions of an ideal pillowcase include the following;
- It should be soft
- The fabric material should be suitable
- It should be able to retain moisture
- It should be hypoallergenic, i.e, should not cause allergies
- It should be made from stretchable durable material
Name a pillowcase with these properties, that would be a good pillowcase, but Avolare Cooling Pillow Case is not just any good pillowcase. It is a great pillowcase because it has all the features of a good pillowcase I listed above.
Additionally, Avolare Pillow Case has a cooling technology that gives your skin more comfortable and makes your sleep more enjoyable. The fabric is soft, smooth with a breathable feel. I strongly recommend it.
This product is available on Amazon, but I am going to give you my special link with my special coupon code to get up to 10% off. Coupon UIAMOHF4
Offer last till 31st Dec 2021
Avolare 2 Pack Cooling Pillow Cases, Arc-Chill Q-max>0.5 Stretch Cooling Pillowcases for Hair Skin and Hot Sleepers, Soft Silky Summer Pillow Cover with Zipper for Standard & Queen Size Pillows - Gray
- Melatonin Sleep Aid Supplement: Effectiveness, Dosage, & Side Effects (webmd.com)
- Sleep Duration and Sleep Patterns in Chinese University Students: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis | Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (aasm.org)
- 10 Top Health Benefits of Sleep (verywellhealth.com)
- 10 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important (healthline.com)
- Why Americans Can't Sleep - Consumer Reports
- Effects of Relaxing Music on Healthy Sleep (nih.gov)
- Simsek, Y. & Nurdan, T., 2019. Sleep Quality in Adolescents in Relation to Age and Sleep-related Habitual and Environmental Factors. The Journal of Pediatrics Research, 6(4), pp. 1-2.