How do you feel during the day? Are you tired, dragging? Are you as productive as you want to be? Let me ask you this….how much sleep do you get? Personally I probably do not get enough sleep, much of my energy has been shifted to family, fitness etc. National Institutes of Health says Sleep Is a Basic Human Need.

Why is sleep so important you ask?

Virtual Relaxation Solutions provides us with five very good reasons:

Sleep helps you to restore and rejuvenate many body functions:
  • Memory and learning – Sleep seems to organize memories, as well as help you to recover memories. After you learn something new, sleep may solidify the learning in your brain.
  • Mood enhancement and social behaviors – The parts of the brain that control emotions, decision-making, and social interactions slow down dramatically during sleep, allowing optimal performance when awake. REM sleep seems especially important for a good mood during the day. Tired people are often cranky and easily frustrated.
  • Nervous system – Some sleep experts suggest that neurons used during the day repair themselves during sleep. When we experience sleep deprivation, neurons are unable to perform effectively, and the nervous system is impaired.
  • Immune system – Without adequate sleep, the immune system becomes weak, and the body becomes more vulnerable to infection and disease.
  • Growth and development – Growth hormones are released during sleep, and sleep is vital to proper physical and mental development.
Now we know why sleep is so important.

How much do I need? This depends…

  • Your inherited genetic need
  • Your sleep hygiene (those daily activities you control, from drinking coffee or alcohol to smoking and exercise)take the sleep hygiene quiz.
  • The quality of the sleep
  • Your 24hour cycle known as the circadian rhythm
  • Most important listen to your body, are you physically weak? How is your mind, are you sharp or are you daydreaming often? What about your emotions, are you short with your kids, less patience with those around you?
What can we do to get better sleep?

The first step is to figure out what’s making you tired.

Healthy Me offers some possible causes and tips:

Skimping on sleep

Most people need a solid 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to feel their best. But with today’s hectic lifestyles, that can sometimes be difficult to achieve.

How to feel better: Try to make up for lost nighttime sleep by taking a 20- to 40-minute nap during the day, sleeping in on weekends, and turning in early on Wednesdays so that lack of sleep doesn’t accumulate throughout the long work week.

Insomnia

Sometimes the problem isn’t lack of time to sleep–it’s that you can’t fall asleep.

How to feel better: Try getting more exercise; it’s one of the most effective ways to combat insomnia. It’s also a good idea to cut back on caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, especially before bedtime. (Although alcohol is a sedative, it tends to keep you in light sleep rather than more restful deep sleep, so you wake up feeling tired.) You might also try putting a few drops of essential oil of lavender on your pillow, which one study found can make you sleepy. Finally, don’t lie awake in bed. If you can’t sleep, get up and do something relaxing–read a book or watch TV–until you feel drowsy.

Sleep Apnea

People with sleep apnea generally snore up a storm, then suddenly stop breathing–which is marked by a period of eerie silence. After a minute or two without air, they wake up with a start, often gasping and snorting. This may happen hundreds of times a night, and sufferers may not remember ever waking up. But when they rouse in the morning after such a restless night, they’re exhausted.

How to feel better: Sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway. Losing excess pounds can often ease the problem, as can sleeping on your side. Your doctor may also suggest that you wear a dental device at night to keep your airway clear or a mask hooked up to a machine that can help you breathe. Finally, in some cases surgery is recommended to remove obstructions or enlarge the airway.

Recent illness

Just because you’ve gotten over a cold or the flu doesn’t mean you’re back to your usual self. Being sick can make you feel tired — sometimes for weeks after the illness has passed.

How to feel better: Take it easy, and let your body recover at its own pace.

Side effects from drugs

Many medications can cause drowsiness and fatigue, including antihistamines, antidepressants, and beta blockers.

How to feel better: Talk to your physician about switching medications.

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From what I see, it is very important that I make more of an effort (or less) in getting a better sleep.

Always remember to seek medical advice from your doctor.

Happy ZZZZZs!