Are you taking naps throughout the day or sleeping until 10 every morning? Or are you burning the proverbial candle at both ends, never feeling like you’ve gotten quite enough shut-eye? Either of these extremes can wreak havoc on your mental and physiological health. And believe it or not, there actually is an ideal amount of sleep that applies to almost everyone. Experts agree that the amount of sleep an adult should get “on a regular basis to promote optimal health” is seven to nine hours. Anything outside of this can be extremely unhealthy. So, what do your sleep patterns say about you?
Why we need sleep
While you’re sleeping, your brain cycles through different phases called REM (rapid-eye movement) and non-REM sleep. During these phases, your body reacts in different ways. It enters into a light sleep mode where your body temperature drops and your heart and breathing slow down. It then cycles into another stage where your heart rate and breathing increase slightly and your mind starts to dream. Each of these stages plays a vital role in revitalizing the brain. In fact, getting the right amount of sleep is essential to memory retention and healthy brain activity. It’s also when your body gets restoration and healing.
Health effects of poor sleep patterns
Regularly sleeping for fewer than seven hours a night can have dire consequences on your health. These negative effects can include obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, anxiety and depression. Lack of sleep also compromises your immune system by decreasing your body’s release of the antibodies you need to fight infection. But one of the most common side effects is possibly depression. Scientists have discovered that among the many things sleep deprivation affects is the neurotransmitters and stress hormones in the brain. When these levels are out of balance, the brain can have trouble adjusting. But before you think that just sleeping more will help you balance out all those effects, think again. Regularly sleeping for more than nine hours a night can also be cause for some of the same health concerns. If you’re not sure if your sleep patterns are normal or if you need help regulating them, it’s a good idea to visit a sleep disorders institute, where they can treat disorders such as sleep apnea that may be interrupting your cycles.
How to treat sleep disorders
It’s true that sleep disorders can cause mental and physical health problems, but it’s also true that these same problems can disrupt your patterns of sleep. For example, a primary symptom of depression and anxiety is a change in sleep patterns. So, to regulate your sleep patterns, sometimes it’s important to treat other symptoms as well. In other words, if you are continually too anxious or in too much physical pain to sleep, treating those conditions could help. For stress, many people find activities like meditation or yoga effective. But physical pain can be a little more complicated to pinpoint treatment for. A common complaint for people who can’t seem to get comfortable enough to get sufficient sleep is back pain. In these situations, specialty clinics like those that offer chiropractic care in Rochester, NY, could be worth visiting. Chiropractic care can help alleviate pain in your back and joints that is often caused by conditions such as arthritis, slipped discs, or misalignment. Seeking further treatment for sleep disorders might involve physical therapy, counseling, or medication. It’s always important to talk to your physician if health concerns like these arise, especially when they cause changes to necessary behaviors, including healthy amounts of sleep.