Research into sleep started in earnest during the 18th century and has since become a topic that has fascinated scientists across the world.
Numerous studies have established that sleep plays an integral role in our ability to function, and supports our general health and wellbeing.
Getting the optimum amount of sleep can be difficult, particularly if you fail to create the best conditions for this to happen consistently.
A recent study by online casino Betway highlighted the crucial role a relaxing pre-bedtime routine plays in getting good quality sleep.
They found that meditating for 30 minutes before bedtime ensured that participants suffered the least amount of disruption each night.
Other recent studies claim the activities people undertake in the run-up to sleep are only part of the equation when it comes to getting great shuteye.
New research from the University of California established that paying attention to three factors – sleep, exercise and breakfast – contributes to sleep quality.
Led by sleep expert Matthew Walker, the group came up with a three-part magic formula to getting great sleep and waking up more effectively.
This involved undertaking substantial exercise during the day, sleeping longer and later into the morning and eating a breakfast with limited sugar but high in complex carbohydrates.
Walker says the findings offer an optimistic message to people that getting great quality sleep is something they can control themselves.
“How you wake up each day is very much under your own control, based on how you structure your life and your sleep,” Walker said.
“You don’t need to feel resigned to any fate, throwing your hands up in disappointment because ‘it’s my genes, and I can’t change my genes’.
“There are some very basic and achievable things you can start doing today, and tonight, to change how you awake each morning, feeling alert and free of that grogginess.”
While sleep deprivation may not seem overly important, it is something that can cause serious issues in numerous areas if allowed to run unchecked.
It can cause physical and mental health problems, injuries in the workplace, vehicular accidents and can contribute to a significant dip in productivity.
Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of health conditions such as heart disease, strike, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, dementia and many more.
Many people are under the misapprehension they can make up a sleep deficit by spending longer in bed at the weekend, but this is a myth.
Adults generally need an average of seven to nine hours sleep per night. The actual amount should be aligned with your circadian rhythm and should not fluctuate, regardless of the time of week.
Walker highlighted the impact sleep deprivation can have on people in his 2017 international best-selling book Why We Sleep.
“With chronic sleep restriction over months or years, an individual will actually acclimate to their impaired performance, lower alertness and reduced energy levels,” Walker wrote.
“That low-level exhaustion becomes their accepted norm, or baseline. Individuals fail to recognise how their perennial state of sleep deficiency has come to compromise their mental aptitude and physical vitality, including the slow accumulation of ill health.”
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