Improve Your Health and Well-Being With More Sleep


There’s no better feeling than waking up after a full night of rest. Whether it’s after a long day at work or just another morning with your kids, getting enough sleep can make all the difference in your mood and energy level. It also boosts your immune system, improves memory and mental clarity, helps maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Everyone needs good quality sleep. Yet, many people aren’t getting the sleep they need to be their best. For those who live with an irregular schedule or are under stress, it can be even harder to get a good night’s sleep on a consistent basis.

Sleep is an essential part of our body’s natural rhythm. It works in tandem with other bodily rhythms, called circadian rhythms, that govern everything from reproduction to aging and work on a daily time scale. These rhythms control our internal clocks and set the timing for when we feel ready to go to bed or wake up.

Scientists have identified two general phases of sleep: a deactivated non-rapid eye movement (NREM) phase and an activated rapid eye movement (REM) phase. However, recent brain-imaging studies suggest that sleep is more complex than previously believed. During sleep, complex activities occur in different parts of the brain, and changes in activity happen over time rather than at one moment.

NREM and REM stages play important roles in memory consolidation, the selection of information to be remembered and forgotten, and the ability to focus and stay emotionally stable. Additionally, a process called “sleep spindles” appears to help the brain remember certain events and facts, and the brain’s drainage system clears out toxins, such as beta-amyloid, that accumulate during normal daily activities.

Although sleep is necessary and beneficial, researchers are still learning how it works and what exactly happens in the brain during this critical state. The goal of the field is to discover a complete picture of sleep’s functions so that it can be used to improve health and well-being.

A person can upgrade their sleep quality through a few simple strategies, such as maintaining a regular schedule and going to bed and getting up at the same times every day. Practicing relaxation techniques before sleeping and keeping the bedroom dark and cool are also helpful. In addition, a person can help avoid insomnia by taking steps to address stressors that may contribute to the condition. For example, a person can seek counseling if they are dealing with anxiety, depression or other emotional problems.