Does poor sleep make your feel older?
When you wake up in the morning, do you feel tired? Do you feel much older than what you exactly are? It may be because you are not sleeping well enough.
According to different studies, poor sleep may not only impact our physical health but can make us feel older. Poor sleep can make us more prone to various physical and psychological illnesses. Every day, we move towards the older self. But it is the quality of our aging process that concerns us. People with poor sleep quality generally have negative views about aging. Some studies try to unravel the mystery of the impact on cognitive health when people grow older. These studies found a relationship between sleep quality and the overall feeling related to aging. In one similar study (PROTECT), researchers asked people about sleep quality and negative changes in memory, motivation, energy, activity, and independence. The participants completed this questionnaire twice with an interval of a year. One surprising result of this study was that people with poor sleep quality felt worst about their aging. Poor sleep quality can inversely affect you physically and mentally. It may also hamper your cognitive health.
Physiology of sleep:
During sleep, an individual cycles through:
- Rapid eye movement (REM)
- Non-rapid eye movement (NREM)
REM and NREM are essential and aid our body in getting relaxed and recovering from illnesses. Healthy sleep repairs our body, consolidating memories, and making us feel emotionally better.
Sleep accompanies by the secretion of various hormones responsible for keeping us healthy. One such hormone is growth hormone (GH), secreted during Non-rapid eye movement (NREM). This hormone repairs the damaged blood vessels, thus decreasing the chances of plaque build-up and eventually a heart condition like a heart attack or stroke.
Good sleep is essential for cognitive health. Poor quality sleep can make hamper the process of critical thinking. Sleep deprivation impacts the functioning of the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex in our brain. These regions control our impulses and process relevant information, thus aiding in the process of thinking.
Poor sleep may cause:
- Lapses in attention
- Poor decision choices
- Unethical behavior
- Poor ability to regulate negative emotions
How can you improve your overall sleep quality?
Poor sleep can affect you physically and mentally. But the good news is that some scientifically proven tips can improve your overall sleep quality.
- Avoid napping during the daytime:
Sleep homeostasis regulates sleep. Homeostasis is a self-regulated process by which a human being maintains stability while adjusting to external conditions. During the daytime, pressure to sleep builds up. A siesta (daytime nap) may reduce this pressure, making it difficult for us to sleep at night.
- Maintain a daily routine:
Always try to maintain a fixed schedule for going to bed and waking up in the morning. A regular schedule is a key to healthy sleep. Our biological clock expects regularity from us. Daily deviation from this regularity impacts our clock and sleep quality.
- A big no to screens before going to bed:
Avoid usage of screen devices at least one hour before going to bed. Exposure to blue light from the screen devices can inhibit melatonin release, which is essential for regulating sleep.
- Maintain an optimal bedroom temperature:
A temperature range of 18 to 25 degrees Celcius is optimal for a night of healthy sleep.
- Maintain a dark ambience in the bedroom:
Avoid excessive lighting in the bedroom during sleep as it may hamper melatonin production.
If you can not block the light, use an eye mask or light-blocking shades.
- Train your brain:
Sometimes you do not sleep even after lying on your bed for more than an hour. Train your brain to sleep as soon as you are on your bed. One way is to go to bed only when you feel sleepy.
- Avoid evening naps:
An untimely nap in the evening may hamper your sleep at night.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening and night:
Coffee and tea in the evenings and nights can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
Sleep affects our physical, mental, and cognitive functioning. Healthy sleep improves our ability to fight disease and develops immunity. Sound sleep makes you feel younger every morning.