SLEEPLESSNESS Tips for getting a healthy amount of rest
by daniel vicencio
Sleep is a biological need of the human body that during the night allows restoration of essential physical and psychological functions to enjoy full wellness the next day. Therefore, not resting enough hours or not doing it in good conditions has numerous consequences at various levels: fatigue, memory and reasoning failures, bad mood, irritability, anxiety, lower performance at work or school. Since the appearance of Covid-19 in 2020, the fear of contagion, economic uncertainty, worries, stress, and anxiety have had a negative impact on the quality of our rest. In addition, to these emotional alterations are added changes in routines, teleworking, less physical activity, greater social isolation, and longer times connected to mobile devices. As a result, it is more difficult for us to fall asleep, or we sleep lighter and wake up several times during the night, which causes more sleep or fatigue throughout the next day. The sleep-wake cycle in optimal conditions depends on many factors, mainly exposure to daylight and the darkness at night, the latter increases the levels of melatonin, a hormone that plays a key role in the regulation and onset of sleep, other factors involved are mealtimes and daytime physical activity. These factors both in low levels, as in depression or mandatory confinement, or in high levels of activity due to stress and overload of intense night work, negatively affect the sleep pattern. In this sense, stress implies a greater psychological and physiological function in response to daily demands and is associated with a short and fragmented sleep.
Tips for getting healthy amounts of rest:
-Set a regular sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and get up at the same times every day. -Adjust the bedroom and your bed: keep the bedroom dark, quiet, well ventilated and with a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Try to avoid sound stimuli, turning off or muting your phone. Make sure your mattress is neither too soft or too hard, and that your pillow is comfortable. -Eat a healthy diet and on a regular schedule: distribute meals five times throughout the day and at the same times always. Don’t eat or drink large amounts for three hours before going to bed. -Mark a routine for your activities: organize the day for the whole family and set a work schedule making time to play with the children or for a moment of social life. -Perform physical exercise: stay active, either inside your house or if possible, outside (patio, garden, terrace), for 30-40 minutes a day, avoiding physical activity two or three hours before going to rest. -Look for the sunlight: if you are at home, try to spend the mornings doing some activity near a window, and if you can go outside, take advantage of early schedules avoiding activities late in the evening when there is no sunlight. -Avoid long naps during the day: short naps have proven to be beneficial for cardiovascular and mental health but should not exceed 20-30 minutes.You should leave seven hours in between a nap and the time you go to sleep at night. -Measure the amount of information you consume and the use of electronic devices before going to sleep: reading or watching news about the pandemic before going to bed can increase your stress levels and make it difficult to fall asleep, so it is better to limit these activities in the hours before sleep. It is very important to avoid the light of the screens of any device before going to sleep, you should read, listen to music or shower instead.
Source: Merck Manual Book of Home Health Information
Daniel Vicencio has a degree in Bioimagenes Production, environmental defender, volunteer recycler in Argentina.
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