Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep—Less Fatigue and More Energy
Fatigue, also called mental exhaustion, is a crippling condition that plagues much of the modern world. One of the main factors behind fatigue is improper sleeping habits.
Sleeping habits include what people do before they sleep, how they sleep, and how they wake up. Following a steady routine—one that includes going to bed at a convenient time, keeping the sleeping environment comfortable and congenial, and promoting better sleep cycles—can combat fatigue.
According to James Maas’s book, Power Sleep, sleep restores, energizes, and rejuvenates the body as well as the brain. It affects everything, including body weight, thinking, performance, productivity, reaction time, memory, mood, energy, creativity, good health, safety, and communication skills.
Dr. Maas further comments, “Before the dawn of the electric light, folks slept for ten hours or more in the night, which has dropped to an average of seven hours a night with one-third of today’s citizens sleeping for six hours or less.” This directly correlates to people’s drop in energy levels during the past century.
Studies have shown strong associations between adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, glucose levels, and sleep. Less sleep hampers glucose numbers and results in low production of ATP, which is the unit of energy in the human body. Alternatively, excessive sleep promotes higher glucose levels, which is also a detriment to proper health and also promotes higher fatigue.
The director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Matthew Walker, says that the non-REM (or the first four) stages of sleep occur early in the night. As morning approaches, sleepers enter the REM cycle. This is when energy levels are boosted and ATPproduction reaches its peak. Hence, sleeping longer helps REM last longer, thus improving energy levels through the day.
Alternatively, the quality of sleep can also affect energy levels. Using a quality mattress, sleeping on one’s back, and maintaining a good sleeping environment helps the mind and body relax faster. It also keeps the brain in stasis longer, which rejuvenates energy levels.
Healthy sleeping habits are a must for people suffering from diabetes, arthritis, or autoimmune diseases, since they are most affected by fatigue and reduced energy levels.
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