With today's fast paced lifestyle there's barely any time to grab enough sleep, let alone too much. However, if you sleep eight hours a night or more and still wake up feeling tired, chances are you're getting too much of sleep. What you need is not more sleep but quality sleep.
Quality sleep allows us to awake feeling refreshed, full of energy and ready to power through the day. It also allows us to sleep as much as we require, leaving plenty of time to do other things.
A lot of people assume that because they're feeling tired all day or have a mid afternoon 'slump' they need more sleep. That’s not true!
A lot of people believe that because they may have had a couple of late nights, they have to 'catch up' by sleeping a little more. Yet again totally illogical!
Sleeping for too long can damage your circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is your 24 hour 'clock' controlled by the central part of our brain. This clock alters or lowers the body temperature by a few degrees as a result of which we feel sleepy. Conversely, when it is raised, we feel awake and alert.
When we sleep for a longer time, our body temperature does not rise as fast. This is why we feel sleepy and sluggish in the morning. The more tired we feel, the more inactive we become. Inactivity keeps the body temperature down, thereby, creating a vicious cycle.
The more we sleep greater the chances of reducing quality sleep for the following night. Our body, in fact, does not get enough exposure to the sunlight. As a result it lowers our melatonin levels and we tend to feel sleepy throughout the day.
The deeper stages of sleep (stages 3 and 4) are the most restorative. This is where the body regenerates. Most of stage 3 and 4 sleep takes place in the first 4 hours of our sleep. The rest of the night is spent in REM (dreaming) sleep and the lighter stages. Stages 3 and 4 are also where the immune system repairs and strengthens itself. It is, therefore, vital to get quality sleep.
A good start is to make sure that we get enough exercise during the day; this gives us a three-fold benefit -
• It gets us out into the sunlight which reduces our melatonin levels.
• It raises our body temperature and makes us feel energized.
• It tires us in a healthy way so that we can get a quality sleep at night.
So, when you come home from a long day at work feeling worn out and weary, don't become a couch potato. Put on those sneakers and go for a brisk walk around the block instead!
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