Do not snooze on the importance of sleep
Are you getting the correct amount of sleep each night? Perhaps you can stay asleep for the entire night hours on end. Maybe you struggle to fall and stay asleep due to aches and pains. Or like 30% of the general population you are battling insomnia (1). Despite which case may apply to you one thing is for sure, we all need sleep, but how much and why?
How many hours should you be sleeping?
As infants through our adolescent years we could be found sleeping upwards of 14+ hours a day. But as we age responsibilities mount and we may only be fortunate enough to have half that amount of sleep. The CDC presently recommends adults 18 years of age and older to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night (2). This number does not decrease if you get more sleep one night to the next but depending on previous night’s sleep or lack thereof you may find yourself feeling not as alert.
What happens (or is supposed to happen) when you sleep?
There are two phases your body will cycle through, NREM and REM: non/rapid eye movement. Non REM involves 3 different stages which begin by falling into a light sleep or N1. Remaining asleep you reach the next stage N2 where your body temperature drops but breathing and heart rate remain regular. The next stage, N3, is your deepest sleep where your breathing and heart reach their lowest rate; as muscles relax blood flow increases, hormones are released and growth plus repair can begin (3,4).
The above NREM stages cycle through with the second phase of sleep, REM. During this phase, your body will become relaxed as not allowing it to act out your dreams; body temperature is not as regulated, your eyes will move quickly back and forth while your brain is active plus energized as dreaming occurs. Ultimately these phases cycle through several times a night with REM sleep occurring about 90 minutes after falling asleep (3,4).
These stages will change from one sleep session to the next. Normally your body will cycle through the second phase or REM sleep for short periods with longer periods of deep sleep. But as the night continues these phases will begin to change and deep sleep will decrease as REM sleep increases.
Why do we need to sleep and why should we aim for the recommended amount?
As we enter the work force our responsibilities tend to increase you may find yourself working up to 8, 12, and possibly 16+ hours at a time, especially for those in the medical, law enforcement and fire community. Adding children to your family can very well increase those “working hours.” Though the CDC recommends those over 18 years old get at least 7 hours of sleep, are you? It may be no doubt difficult to find the time to sleep that long and some may very well not need as many hours to feel “refreshed”, but how is it effecting your body?
Not getting the sleep you need can affect you more than just feeling groggy or and not working as effectively as you should. You will not have the opportunity to properly release and control hormones such as Growth Hormone (GH), Cortisol and melatonin needed to help the body recover (5,7). If the pattern persists you could find yourself facing serious medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, low sex drive, obesity, and a weakened immune system, all of which have been linked to sleep deprivation (6).
How to ensure a good night’s sleep and prevent sleep deprivation
We know now why we need a good night’s sleep and what can happen if we fall into a bad pattern, but how do we ensure we can get those all-important zzz’s? Most of the suggestions may seem straight forward; create a good schedule of going to bed and waking up at the same time, exercising regularly, monitoring caffeine intake or not consuming it later in the day (6). One suggestion you may not think of is not using electronic devices such as your phone before bed. Keeping your mind psychologically engaged when you should be winding down your day is not advantageous for sleep. Plus the blue light emitted by your phone is an artificial color that actually mimics daylight and can disrupt your circadian rhythm which is in harmony with light and dark. Using your phone can also suppress levels of melatonin which is the hormone responsible for controlling your sleep – wake cycle as well as delaying REM sleep (7).
Remedies and Research
Now that you know the how what, and whys of sleep you may still be left with the question is there anything natural you can take that will help with sleep? Remedies have ranged from a glass of warm milk to deep breathing techniques in conjunction with the suggestions above, but recent research may have some promise for cannabidiol better known as CBD, especially for those dealing with anxiety and pain. Numerous instances of research have shown when using CBD, anxiety, chronic pain and insomnia were reduced, ultimately improving the quality and length of sleep (8).
Combining CBD along with melatonin could very well help you get the sleep you have been missing. High Tide Herbal is here to help with products that incorporate only CBD or CBD with melatonin. As should always be suggested, consult with your family doctor or physician before incorporating anything new to your diet.
- National Sleep Foundation. Insomnia. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders/insomnia
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention. How Much Sleep Do I Need? https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
- National Sleep Foundation. What Happens when you sleep? https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/what-happens-when-you-sleep
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. What happens during sleep? https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/sleep/conditioninfo/what-happens
- Davidson, J R,; Moldofsky, H.; Lue, F A. 1991 Jul; Growth hormone and cortisol secretion in relation to sleep and wakefulness. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, 16(2): 96–102.
- Watson, S.; Cherney, K; Reviewed by Sampson, S. The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body. https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body
- Cleveland Clinic. Put the Phone Away! 3 Reasons Why Looking at It Before Bed is a Bad Habit. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/put-the-phone-away-3-reasons-why-looking-at-it-before-bed-is-a-bad-habit/
- CBD for Insomnia: Benefits, Side Effects, and Treatment. https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-for-insomnia#research