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What is more harmful: lack of sleep or sleeping too much? the doctor answers

Date: May 27, 2024 Time: 19:25:38

doctor-therapist of the spa “Lago-Naki”

Sleep is a vital necessity, it occurs in cycles and each one has several phases that add up to about 90 minutes (REM, non-REM and deep sleep). It is during the deep sleep phase when our brain rests and nerve cells (neurons) are restored.

How to know your sleep rhythm

For healthy sleep, the number of hours should be calculated so that the total amount of the cycle is divided by 90. For example, if you are between the ages of 18 and 65, you should sleep seven and a half hours or nine hours.

During sleep, the brain processes and stores new information, cleanses itself of toxins, stimulates the immune system and the recovery processes of the whole organism.

But all these important functions can fail if we don’t sleep enough and incorrectly. There is a common belief that people must rest at least eight hours a day to maintain health. But it’s not like that.

Different age groups have their own daily amount, and as we get older we need less and less sleep:

babies 1-3 months life – 14-17 hours; babies from 3 to 11 months life – 12-15 hours; children from 1 to 2 years old: from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; children from 3 to 5 years old: from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; children from 6 to 13 years old: from 9 to 11 hours; adolescents from 14 to 17 years old: from 8 to 10 hours; adults from 18 to 65 years old: from 7 to 9 hours; seniors from 65 years – 7-8 hours.

Photo: www.istockphoto.com

If a person does not sleep for five to eight days, irreversible brain damage can lead to death.

Another common misconception is that lack of sleep is very dangerous, but if you sleep more than usual, you can recover.

Yes, lack of sleep (six hours or less per night) increases the risk of mortality by 12%. But sleeping more than normal is even more dangerous: it causes the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and pathologies of other internal organs, and mortality in case of excessive sleep increases by up to 30%.

Photo: www.istockphoto.com

What affects sleep?

Our body is adapted to life on Earth and has its own biological clock – these are circadian rhythms – cyclical fluctuations in the activity of internal processes that are tied to the change of day and night. In humans, the biological day is approximately 24 hours long, with slight variations in gender and personal characteristics.

Also read:

Sleep heals and helps keep fit. 3 scientific evidence from a doctor

At the same time, our internal clock is in sync with the environment, and sunlight is crucial for this. The alternation of day and night regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

Melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle in humans and animals, is produced from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Accelerates falling asleep, reduces the number of night awakenings and improves sleep quality. The pineal gland does not automatically produce melatonin. For this, a stimulus is needed: darkness.

Special cells in the retina of our eyes detect light. And only if there is complete darkness around us, the eyes send a signal to the pineal gland that it is time to produce melatonin.

Photo: www.istockphoto.com

It also adapts the body of climate sensitive people to changes in weather conditions. Its normal content in the body is necessary to maintain the health and normal functioning of the nervous system. It is very difficult to fool our body’s natural system, for example, if you sleep during the day with a mask over your eyes and curtains drawn tightly.

But, unfortunately, daytime sleep cannot completely replace the night one: in the dark, the pineal gland is even more active due to the features of the biological clock.

Daytime sleep can still be useful: if you fall asleep for a short time (for example, during a sleep cycle, an hour and a half), this will help to reset the brain and make it more productive.

From three or four in the morning, the concentration of melatonin decreases. It is replaced by another hormone – cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is better known as the “stress hormone,” but it also plays an important role in alert mechanisms. The hormone gradually prepares our body for awakening and a new active day.

Photo: www.istockphoto.com

The cortisol concentration peak is between six and seven in the morning. At this time the release of serotonin, the “happiness hormone”, is added. It makes our awakening less stressful and more pleasant, it fills us with a good mood.

For this reason, it is so important to observe sleep hygiene so that our biological clock works in a synchronized way and for the benefit of our body.

healthy sleep rules

The main condition: if you go to bed, your eyes must see complete darkness. But there are some more rules that improve the quality of sleep.

Stable schedule. If possible, try to fall asleep and wake up at the same time. This helps the body to adapt and improves the production of melatonin.

Also read:

What keeps us awake at night and how to fix it. The somnologist explained

Physical activity during the day. The quality of sleep improves if you engage in regular physical activity during the day: gym, running, sports, dancing and other active hobbies.

Proper nutrition before bed. Caffeine should be avoided three to four hours before going to bed: this psychostimulant is found not only in coffee, but also in tea, cocoa and chocolate. It is also convenient to abandon heavy, salty and sweet foods.

Photo: www.istockphoto.com

A couple of hours before bedtime, give up heavy physical exertion, watch news and TV shows, social networks – all these factors increase the activity of the nervous system and can lead to difficulties in falling asleep.

Habitual rituals that will calm the nervous system and prepare the body for rest: walk in the fresh air or do light stretching two to three hours before bedtime, listen to calm music, sum up the day and practice personal reward, hot showers and other hygiene procedures.

Bedroom. If possible, reserve a separate “sleep” room, in which there are no distractions: TV, laptop, books, etc.

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* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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