Why healthy sleep is so important
Your body and mind needs healthy sleep to regenerate and process information
Getting a good night’s sleep benefits your entire body. It helps you feel rested and restored and supports the complex array of biological processes that make your body function. Sleep affects both our physical and mental health – and it ultimately plays a key role in achieving a satisfying quality of life.
So how can we cultivate healthy sleep? Is it something we can learn? Or perhaps even improve? How much sleep is actually healthy? And how does the amount of sleep we get affect our body’s acid-base balance? Read on to find the answers to these and many more questions.
Why do we need sleep anyway?
Numerous intricate processes occur in the body during sleep:
- The brain regenerates itself. It also processes the impressions of the day and stores them as memories.
- Your immune system gets stronger.
- Your blood pressure and heart rate drop.
- Your energy reserves are replenished.
That is why getting enough sleep is so important to ensuring that your body and mind continue to work properly. Quite simply, sleep is critical to our survival.
How much sleep is healthy?
The concept of getting enough sleep sounds simple, but it actually involves some fairly complex considerations. For a start, what do we mean by “enough” sleep? How many hours do we really need? And what factors affect the ideal number for each individual?
In reality, there are no one-size-fits-all answers to these questions. The amount of sleep each person needs depends on a range of highly individual factors, including genetic predisposition, stress, seasonal variations and age. On average, adults are generally thought to need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.
The perfect combination of duration and quality
Your body recovers best from daily stresses when your sleep is of adequate duration and quality. That is why the number of deep-sleep phases and your sleeping environment are at least as important as the total duration of your nightly rest. The health benefits of sleep can unfold only when you have the right combination of sufficient sleeping time and deep relaxation.
Sleep deprivation and its consequences
A combination of poor-quality sleep and a lack of sleep can have far-reaching consequences for your body, potentially leading to adverse long-term effects on your health and well-being.
Typical effects of sleep deprivation include:
- nervous tension
- inability to concentrate
- slower reaction times
- reduced ability to perform daily activities
How to develop healthy sleep patterns
Getting a good night’s sleep is fundamental to our well-being. Difficulties in falling asleep and staying asleep can have a range of different causes, but in many cases we can make simple changes to our daily routines to improve our sleep in the long term.
Make sleep a habit
By tuning in to our body and our surroundings, we can make good sleep a habit. Harnessing the natural rhythms of our biological processes, environment and daily routines can help our body and mind to relax and encourage us to fall asleep. Useful strategies include going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, or adopting specific evening rituals. Choose whatever makes you feel more relaxed, whether that is a herbal tea, an evening walk, relaxation exercises or a good book. Doing the same activity on a regular basis creates a soothing ritual that may eventually start to lull you to sleep!
Create the right atmosphere
Your bedroom should be reserved for sleeping. It is certainly not the right place for phones, laptops or televisions; these devices emit blue light and radiation, which may disrupt healthy sleep.
Your sleeping environment is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep, so you should make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and as dark as possible. To encourage healthy sleep, you should keep your bedroom at a moderate temperature of between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. Last but not least, make sure you have a mattress that is comfortable enough for a relaxed and restful night.
Getting regular exercise can make a big difference to the quality of your sleep – but that does not necessarily mean doing a physical workout. Simply taking a walk does your body good by reducing the stress hormone cortisol. Exercising in the fresh air also causes your body to release the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps your body relax and prepare for sleep.
An alkaline-rich diet provides the perfect support
Following an alkaline-rich diet is another good way to promote sleep quality. Having a proper acid-base balance is essential for the normal course of metabolic processes, which ultimately affect your entire body. Metabolic processes can help improve the quality of sleep when they are running at their best – and an alkaline-rich diet can help them do just that.
Make a difference right away: Our colourful range of suggested recipes for alkaline-rich meals make it quick and easy to change the way you eat. Check them out – and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you have taken the first step on the path towards better-quality sleep.