When you sleep an extra 15 minutes each night, you will get an hour of sleep every four days, and one night in a 28-day period. Can this small, short-term change improve sleep and increase long-term comfort?
Studies tend to focus on the benefits of increased sleep time, as research supports lengthening sleep periods as a strategy to reduce fatigue, according to the Sleep website.
Sleep is one of the most important “physiological” needs of the human body, as it plays a prominent role in the recovery of the body, the regulation of vital processes and hormonal secretion, and the maintenance of the quality of human mental abilities.
Dr. Alaa al-Lahham, a specialist in psychiatry and sleep disorders, says that sleep depends on the presence or absence of light in its regulation, to control the secretion of the hormone melatonin from the pineal gland, which helps to organize sleep. and ensure that it is of sufficient quality. When there is no light (at night), the body secretes melatonin, which helps with deep, proper and restful sleep.
Therefore, the regulation of sleep begins with determining the hours and times of sleep, as well as the surrounding environment. Al-Lahham adds, “Regarding the appropriate number of hours, it varies according to the age group, but in general we can say that as a person gets older, the required hours of sleep decrease. When a newborn baby needs about 16 hours .of sleep, it gradually reduces until the age of From 25 to about 7-9 hours a day. As for people over 65, their daily need for sleep is generally less than 7 hours.
He points out that sleep should be adjusted and balanced within the rates mentioned above, without any increase or decrease. But it is common for a person to sleep more hours at night; Less sleepy and tired during the day.
Increasing the hours of sleep beyond the normal range can lead to increased lethargy and fatigue during the day, and can disrupt the sleep cycle and biological clock, and the person will have difficulty sleeping at night. Therefore, it is recommended that a person get hours of sleep within the normal rate for each age.
Al-Lahham discusses the term “sleep hygiene”, which expresses the behavior and general guidelines followed to obtain the best benefit from sleep. Among these guidelines:
- Sleep in a comfortable environment away from noise and lights.
- Reduce naps during the day.
- To stay away from stimuli as much as possible in the evening; Such as: coffee, tea and smoking.
- Do moderate physical activity daily.
- Consult a psychiatrist in case of symptoms of anxiety or depression affecting sleep quality.
Sleep and a healthy weight
“Nutrition and sleep are important to our health. A diet rich in saturated fats and sugars affects the quality of sleep, and some foods and drinks can make it easy or difficult to get the sleep you need,” according to Haneen Al -Salem, a clinical nutrition specialist.
She points out that getting enough sleep is linked to maintaining a healthy weight and is beneficial for people trying to lose weight, as several studies have found that people who don’t get enough sleep; They are more likely to overconsume food, and tend to eat food with a higher calorie content.
She says: “If you have trouble sleeping, the solution may be to improve your eating habits, including: avoiding fatty foods, or large amounts of food two to three hours before going to bed, because digestion naturally slows down when you sleep.”
Spicy food and sleep disturbances
Al-Salem says that hot and spicy foods cause heartburn and make it difficult to lie down, in addition to raising the body’s temperature, which forces it to work harder to cool down enough to sleep, and this can lead to sleep disturbances.
And she adds that “the consumption of caffeine – found in coffee, tea, dark chocolate and energy drinks – stimulates the brain and gives you energy, then keeps you awake, as the effects of caffeine can last up to six hours, and sometimes longer.”
She points out that there are foods that help sleep, so the hormone serotonin and the amino acid tryptophan affect it. they enter the production of the hormone melatonin which is responsible for drowsiness and sleep.
Serotonin is found naturally in legumes, leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts and seeds. For example: Eating milk with oatmeal and banana is a good combination before going to bed. Because it is a good source of amino acid, and magnesium mineral responsible for muscle relaxation, and reducing symptoms of restless legs syndrome during sleep.
15 more minutes to sleep
Neurologist and sleep expert Chris Winter identifies – according to the “sleep” website – how the human body can benefit from an extra 15 minutes of sleep a day.
Winter believes that sleep problems, like many other health problems, are often ignored until they become significant. That’s why he recommends making small changes over time, such as getting 15 minutes of extra sleep each night, to help get a restful night’s sleep.
Whether you’re struggling with the daily grind, have health issues you’d like to improve with better rest, or want to manage your time better, Winter offers tips to help you get that extra 15 minutes:
- Design your sleep schedule: When you do, the first question is, “When do you want to wake up, and what’s best for your life?” It’s easier to adjust when you go to sleep than when you wake up, and it’s important to work within your new individual. lifestyle parameters.
- Use an alarm: Use your phone, smartwatch or sleep tracker to set an alarm when bedtime approaches. You can also program the lights to dim or turn off the TV at a certain time, so your body and mind know it’s time to start winding down for bed.
- Make your bedroom attractive: Getting rid of clutter in your bedroom is a principle of good sleep. It makes you feel more relaxed.
- Create a system: motivate yourself with rewards; Eg: a special meal.