It is a fact that people can survive 3 weeks
without food but only a
little over a week without sleep. Sleep, in contrast to
diet, is rarely mentioned as a significant source of the many health
issues people in the western world are experiencing in connection with
their way of life.
Everything in life follows a rhythm. Day turns to night, summer turns
to winter, and every biological system in the world follow this
pattern. Humans have to follow this pattern as well; without sleep
there would be no waking life. Sleep hygiene is crucial to all of our most vital
functions as well as for the body to function optimally,
especially for people who are trying to get fit, lose weight, recover
from a disease or injury, etc.
Sleep hygiene is not just a matter of cleanliness - although having
clean sheets on the bed and an otherwise organized and clean bedroom
can certainly improve your quality of sleep, especially when you or
your partner are troubled by excessive sweating
mainly, sleep hygiene relates to all
aspect of sleep
and how “hygienic” they are, i.e. free of disturbances. Creating the
right conditions for sleep while awake is important for both mental and
physical health, but most people are not even aware of the many factors
that contribute to bad sleep habits, especially since there is not much
public advice available.
Even if feel like you get plenty of sleep, poor sleep habits may
prevent you from sleeping soundly and getting to the deep stages of sleep.
This is why many people often wake up feeling tired or lethargic, even
after many hours of sleep.
Stress, a condition many people suffer from today, is a very important
aspect of sleep hygiene. Sleep is essential for mental health, and
mental health is essential for sleep. It's been proven that bruxism,
also known as grinding your teeth while you're sleeping, is often cause
by excessive stress before bedtime. It often occurs when the affected
person is having night
to bed with stress, worries
and other forms of sleep
anxiety is terrible for your mental health and can not only
cause you to snore, but it can also seriously disturb your sleep,
making the stress much, much worse.
your overall sleep patterns is the first step towards
better sleep; is your cell phone or computer charging in your bedroom?
Did you go straight from watching TV to bed, or did you give yourself
time to “wind down”? Does your partner snore or do you have other
disturbing noises around you? Did you eat a sugary snack just before
if you do not have trouble falling asleep, your sleeping
environment, as well as your preparation for bed should be considered.
are a lot of good reasons to get enough sleep; it will make you feel
healthy, full of energy, and plays a big role in keeping you slim, and hygiene plays an important part in
One often overlooked factor in good sleep hygiene is the digestive
system, especially the intestines. In the intestines there is an
abundance of life in the form of bacteria and other microscopic
organisms. There are actually more bacteria in your gut than there are
cells in your entire body. It is estimated that there are between 2 and
5 pounds of bacteria in the intestines, which corresponds to more than
100,000 billion cells. Although this may sound like a lot of bacteria,
these actually serve your body.
of the bacteria's main functions is to help the body fight
disease-causing bacteria (called pathogens) by stimulating
system. Also they produce a large amount of bacterial lactic acid that
stimulates the muscles in the intestines and helps get rid of our
types of bacteria are called probiotics.
The bacteria in
the intestines also produce vitamin K2 and Biotin.
essential for the body's ability to clot blood (so we do not bleed at
the slightest cut) and the ability to store calcium in the bones.
Biotin is important in relation to the body's ability to burn fat and
are many different species of bacteria in the
intestines, and the number of different species are in balance with
each other. The balance between the numbers of different species of
bacteria is essential in relation to a healthy and well-functioning
You may wonder how this can have anything to do with sleep, but it very
Bacteria have one drawback: they multiply incredibly quickly,
especially in our intestines, since there are excellent conditions:
heat, water and food. Therefore, the body keeps the numbers down. This
control is exercised by
our immune systems.
In the daytime there is a natural increase of stress hormones in the
blood so that we can be awake and active, however, these hormones
reduce immune activity. This allows us to save energy, which
system takes a lot of, during out daytime activities.
have free rein to reproduce during the day, and the make sure to take
advantage of this. When the amount of bacteria reaches critical levels,
the immune system reacts. This reaction triggers a cascade of reactions
in the body which ends with the production of the sleep hormone
melatonin in the brain.
when you feel tired and sleepy, it is
actually partly because your immune system has started. That's why
you're so tired and need to sleep when you're sick; the immune system
is working hard to fight bacteria.
When you sleep, the immune system is particularly active, in order to
reduce the amount of bacteria that have multiplied during the day. It
is therefore important to get enough sleep in order to bring the amount
of bacteria to a natural level. If you do not get enough sleep you will
quietly build an unnatural bacterial load in your gut. The balance
between the different species in particular can be disrupted.
Lack of sleep and bad sleep
habits can thus not only make you feel
tired, irritated and generally unwell, it can also cause the following
symptoms due to bacterial imbalance:
- Diarrhea, as a
population of bacteria, including pathogenic.
- Constipation, due to
the relationship between the probiotic bacteria and other bacteria,
which results in a reduced production of lactic acid, and thus less
- In the long term,
due to a hyperactive immune system.
you are traveling, sleep hygiene is probably even more important. After
all, we all sleep best in our own bed, so when you're in surroundings
you're not used to, you have to work a little harder to ensure a good
night's rest. Bridget's website Help Me to Sleep has some useful tips on how to sleep well while traveling.
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