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MiTo Wellbeing Team
The Mito Guide for optimal sleeping
“My dear sleep, I’m sorry we broke up this morning. I want you back!”
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Nowadays you are constantly reminded to have a good amount of sleep; in the past, sleeping has always been treated as something negligible, has always been put aside for doing something more “productive” or simply to get all of your commitments done by the end of the day, but it is okay to deprive us of hours of rest? Let’s have a look at what is happening during sleeping.
Sleep is a physiological and recurring process, characterized by the temporary detachment of the conscience and the will. It is fundamental to maintain a healthy mind and body state.
During sleep, all the muscle activity is reduced to the minimum, and all the voluntary muscular activity alertness and interactions with surroundings are inhibited.
Sleeping is fundamentally formed by 2 phases: the REM Phase and the non-REM phase; REM stays for “rapid eye movements” which is one of the fundamental traits of this process.
The non-REM phase is the first that occurs and it is characterized by a deep sleep state where the brain uses less energy, the heart rate, and the temperature of the body fall. After the non-REM phase, there is the REM phase which is a state of high brain activity, loss of muscle tone, and rapid eye movements. Dreams and nightmares are most likely to occur in the REM phase.
A good night’s sleep has a constant alternate of the non-REM and REM phases. An entire cycle of these 2 phases approximately lasts for about 1 hour and a half.
After sleep, there is the awakening phase, in which the individual heart rate, brain activity, and muscle tone start to increase to normal levels again.
Sleep and awakening are influenced by different factors but usually are based on the body’s circadian clock.
The circadian clock is a natural neurochemical system that regulates the sleep and wake cycle. This cycle repeats approximately every 24 hours.
The circadian clock is influenced by the light and dark and gives signals to the neuroendocrine system to secrete hormones. One of the most important hormones which regulate the sleep cycle is melatonin.
So sleep is quite a complex mechanism that involves the entirety of our body from muscles to our nervous system, but what are the real benefits of having good sleeping? Is it just about being more focused at work? Of course not!
Let’s find out!
6 Benefits Of Sleeping
1. Increase memory function
2. Increase cellular regeneration
3. It boosts your immune system
4. Prevents weight gain
5. Prevents heart diseases
6.Better sleep = Better mood
As you are probably already aware, sleeping has plenty of positive effects on our health, but how?
1. Increase memory function: sleep strengthens the neural connections that create memories, sleep disruption affects the ability of the brain to store and process information into different regions of the nervous system.
2. Increase cellular regeneration: sleep promote the regeneration of cells that form myelin, a fundamental component of neural connections.
3. Boost your immune system: sleep contributes both to innate and adaptive immunity as during the night our levels of cytokines, chemical mediators of inflammation, raise. Inflammation is an important part of the inner healing ability of our body and is not linked just with pain.
4. Prevents weight gain: lack of sleep increase the appetite and so the daily calorie intake. A balanced and sufficient sleep will keep your appetite at a normal level.
5. Heart diseases prevention: during sleep, our blood pressure goes down, and lack of sleep will maintain our pressure high. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke.
6. Better mood: sleep is strictly linked to mental health and a privation of that may lead to anxiety, anger, and depression. Sleep regulates our circadian clock and our neuroendocrine system, its disruption leads to cognitive impairment, learning and attention disturbance, and dysregulation of emotions.
MiTo Clinic Tips for a Healthy Sleep
- Be regular: trying to keep a “go to bed “ routine
- Avoid bright lights before bedtime
- No phones or computers before sleeping
- Reduce caffeine intake before going to sleep
- Postpone training before bedtime
- Seek a dark and cool environment
Some of the above suggestions seem pretty obvious or common sense, but there is scientific work behind them, let’s have a closer look:
1. Be regular: a more inconsistent routine will prevent your body to have a correct hormonal release at the right time to make you feel sleepy or awake. As mentioned before one of the most important hormones is melatonin and any irregular levels of it will change your circadian clock.
2. Avoid bright lights: looking at bright lights during nighttime reduces your melatonin release and disturbs your sleep patterns.
3. No phones or computers before sleeping: the reason is linked to the second point of avoiding bright lights, specifically blue ones. Our electronic devices are emitting a great amount of blue light which suppresses the release of melatonin. MiTo enforces to put down your devices before sleeping however if that would not be possible you can install on your electronic devices a screen filter app that will partially reduce the quantity of blue light.
4. Reduce Caffeine intake before sleeping: excessive use of caffeine is not recommended for your health at all, one of the negative effects is that can disturb your sleep, how so? Caffeine has some positive effects like boosting your cognitive functions and stimulating the nervous system, but it also affects the non-REM sleep phase of a sleep cycle and could lead to sleep disruption.
5. Avoid exercising just before bedtime: physical activity increases the levels of endorphins which are chemicals produced by our nervous system. Endorphins make you feel happier and reduce pain and discomfort, however, a high level of those is not favorable to sleep. Physical exercise increases not just endorphins, but body temperature as well, this increase is not suitable to sleep, therefore it is suggested to train approximately 1 and a half hours before bedtime to give the time to your body to bring endorphins and body temperature levels to normal.
6. Seek a dark and cool environment: sleeping in a dark environment is suggested for the reason mentioned above; body temperature is not constant throughout the day is reaching its peak in the late afternoon and start to drop in the evening as melatonin starts to be released, therefore sleeping in a cool (around 18 degrees) environment is suggested.
At the end after all these explanations and suggestions, one of the most important questions remains, how long should I sleep to keep my mind and body healthy?
To prevent sleep disruption an individual should sleep at least 7 hours per night at least with the idea to increase to 8 hours which has been proved to be the gold standard for sleeping.
If you have any doubts, questions, or need any help to relieve any pain. Call or Book an appointment with us.
This is the end of the blog, MiTo Team says thank you to have read it and hopes that you enjoyed it.
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All the information on this blog post is made with passion, love, and expertise by the MiTo team, however, we always rely on what science says on this topic so you will find our source of information at the bottom of the page in the Bibliography section.
1. Dàttilo,M.,Antunes, H., Gables, N., Monico-Neto, M., De Sà Souza, H. Dos Santos Quaresma, M., Lee, K., Ugrinowitsch, C., Tufik, S. and De Mello, M., 2019. Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Acute Skeletal Muscle Recovery after Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 52(2), pp. 507-514.
2. Fernandes, R. and Devnani, P., 2017. Role of Sleep in Memory. Indian Journal Sleep Medicine, 12(2), pp.12-14.
3. Hobson, J., Pace-Schott, E., and Stickgold, R., 2000. Dreaming and the brain: Toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23(6), pp. 793-842
4. Hosker, D., Elkins, R., and Potter, M., 2019. Promoting Mental Health and Wellness in Youth Through Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Sleep. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 28(2), pp,171-193.
5. All the pictures from Unsplash
Optimal Sleeping: Medical Disclaimer
Although the MiTo team is composed of healthcare practitioners, we are not your healthcare practitioners (yet XD). All the content on this website is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. We always strive to provide an accurate and reliable source of information, but the information on this website does not substitute any professional advice and you should not rely solely on this blog content. Always seek medical-professional advice in the area of your particular needs or circumstances before making any decision concerning your health.
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