The Wonderful Things That Happen During Sleep
Your brain is an amazing organ. During the day, it is busy making sure you know how to do everyday tasks while also learning new things. While you sleep, your brain cleans and organizes itself. A fluid called cerebrospinal fluid cleans off the built up plaque and toxins in the brain. If you lack sleep or don't sleep well, the plaque builds up and can subsequently impair your memory.
Lack of sleep not only impacts your focus and cognitive performance, but can also lead to other health concerns such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, depression, and dementia to name a few. Therefore, adopting healthy sleep habits to get adequate sleep of at least 7 – 9 hours a day is extremely important. Healthy sleep habits include:
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.
- Develop regular bedtime routine.
- Do not go to bed unless sleepy.
- Use bed for sleeping and intimacy only.
- Wake up at the same time every day.
- No naps unless advised by your health care provider.
- Exercise at least 30 to 40 minutes for at least 5 times a week.
- Do not consume caffeine after lunch.
- Avoid alcohol, heavy meals, and nicotine close to bedtime.
- Turn off electronics 30 minutes before bed.
If you still have trouble sleeping after making these small changes, you should see your health care provider.
When soft tissues and muscles in the back of your throat relax while you were sleeping, your airway collapses which, in turn, lead to snoring, gasping, and breathing to be stopped all together. This collapse of your airway does not allow air to come in or out. This is called sleep apnea. Although the interruption of breathing is short, it can cause a lot of stress and harmful effects on the body. Sleep apnea can also happen in any age, gender, race, and body shape.
The following are other symptoms of sleep apnea which you need to look for that may cause concern:
- Morning headaches
- Waking up through the night
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heart beat
- Feeling sleepy during the day even after a night of sleep
- Dry mouth in the morning
- Weight gain
- Drowsy driving
Your health care provider can go over options of treatment for sleep apnea with you. Most sleep issues are preventable or treatable. Take care of yourself by taking care of your sleep.