Did you know that we sleep one-third of our lives? This is a solid time and confirms the fact that sleep is a necessary process for life. It affects a myriad of physiological functions, its quality is associated with good physical and mental well-being, and conversely, lack of sleep is a risk factor for many diseases and disorders. In today’s article, we look at eight questions that many of us ask about sleep.
Sleep and why it is so important
Sleep is mistaken for a process in which brain activity is suppressed. However, the truth is that it is an active process in which many areas of the brain are active and constantly working. During sleep, our body removes accumulated toxins, regenerates tissues, produces specific hormones (including growth hormone) and other substances, produces proteins, and tissues grow.
Lack of sleep can lead to the development of digestive problems, impaired memory and concentration, mental state and also has a negative effect on eating habits and weight management. Healthy and quality sleep is one in which an individual feels physical and mental well-being.
8 most common questions about sleep
1. How many hours of sleep is optimal?
The optimal length of sleep is highly individual and varies according to age, gender and other factors. It is therefore very difficult to determine a healthy length of sleep.
According to the Academy of Sleep Medicine, 7-9 hours are recommended for the adult population, and adequate sleep quality should be ensured (in complete darkness and silence with fresh air). Short or even too long sleep duration is not healthy.
2. Does it matter what time I go to bed?
The natural onset of sleep should be preferred, depending on the production of melatonin, the concentration of which begins to increase from about 9 p.m. At this time, most people begin to feel tired. This is a speech that says “let’s go to sleep” and it is not appropriate to postpone sleep anymore. The exact time is quite individual, for some the ideal time to lie down may be 20:00, for some 23:00. It is also important to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
The natural onset of sleep is often disturbed by exposure of the eyes to artificial lighting in the evening, which for the body pushes the physiological production of the sleep hormone melatonin into later hours, and thus the onset of sleep itself.
3. Are there foods I won’t be able to fall asleep?
Very heavy and fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol can make sleep uncomfortable and impair sleep quality. The closer you lie down, the more likely you are to disrupt your sleep. The next day you may feel unwell, irritable, have digestive problems and feel full on an empty stomach (which may be a reason to skip breakfast).
Generally speaking, there are specific foods that directly disrupt sleep. Your eating habits are important for the quality of sleep – regular eating, consumption of quality food with optimal nutritional composition, adequate portion size.
4. On the contrary, are there foods that help with sleep?
Some biologically active substances in food can help you fall asleep and possibly improve your sleep quality. These include drinks and foods that contain melatonin (especially nuts, legumes, meat, dairy products, eggs, fish and mushrooms), which, in addition to its effect on inducing sleep, also acts as an antioxidant, has a positive effect on the immune system and the nervous system.
Furthermore, foods rich in protein and tryptophan, antioxidants or apigenin, which is part of chamomile tea.
5. How long before bed can I eat for the last time?
It is generally recommended to eat for the last time at least 2-3 hours before bedtime, with the proviso that this should be just a “heavy” meal with an adequate portion size. Heavy meals and large portions can cause sleep problems and can also lead to digestive problems.
6. When would I have my last coffee to fall asleep?
This is to some extent related to whether you are a regular coffee drinker and how quickly you metabolize caffeine. If you drink coffee every day, then you probably won’t have much of an effect on you, no matter when you have your coffee. If you are only an occasional consumer, you need to know that caffeine can work 3 to 7 hours after drinking. As a result, some of you will be able to have your last coffee at most in the early afternoon and some even at 5 pm.
The effect of coffee is individual for each and it is necessary to test on how many hours you can enjoy the coffee without affecting sleep. Also, don’t forget other sources of caffeine, such as green and black tea, matcha, mate, and dietary supplements.
7. Is it healthier to sleep without clothes?
Sleeping naked can be beneficial. Especially on warm summer days, when it helps the body with thermoregulation. Lowering your body temperature can help you fall asleep faster and even improve the quality of your sleep. Other benefits are a reduction in the frequency of gynecological infections, increased comfort and improved quality of sex life.
8. Does lack of sleep cause weight gain?
Sleep deprivation negatively affects the hormonal regulation of food intake, affects your taste preferences (increases the appetite for sweet and fatty), feeling hungry and satiety (disrupts the normal production of hormone ghrelin and leptin), nutrient metabolism and other factors related to nutrition and weight management . Lack of sleep is also a common barrier to physical activity. This tends to increase energy intake and reduce expenditure.
Quality sleep is nowadays a common part of the recommendations for achieving and maintaining normal body weight. Lack of sleep can be an obstacle to weight loss.
Sleep is an extremely important process that should not be underestimated.