It is widely known that getting a good night’s sleep plays a crucial role in helping people function properly every day.
Generally speaking, adults require an average of seven to eight hours sleep per night to give their body and mind ample time to rest and recuperate.
A recent study by Betway Insider also pinpointed the importance of undertaking a relaxing pre-bedtime routine to establish a solid platform for good quality sleep.
They found that meditating for 30 minutes before sleep was the best way to ensure the minimum amount of disruption during slumber time.
Researchers at the University of California have also recently published findings which they say unlock the secrets to feeling alert and refreshed after sleep.
Led by sleep expert Matthew Walker, the group identified three key elements people should focus on if they want to get the best quality sleep.
They claim that people should engage in physical activity during the day, sleep later and for longer, and eat a breakfast low in sugar and high in carbohydrates.
While feeling sleepy during the day may seem inconsequential, it has proved to be devastating on numerous occasions.
Many car accidents are caused by people who lack alertness, while injuries in the workplace are often as a result of overtiredness.
Several major disasters such as the nuclear accident in Chernobyl, Ukraine, were caused by people who failed to get the requisite amount of sleep.
Walker, a best-selling author and professor of neuroscience and psychology, believes people should pay more attention to the importance of sleep.
“Many of us think that morning sleepiness is a benign annoyance,” Walker said. “However, it costs developed nations billions of dollars every year through loss of productivity, increased healthcare utilisation and work absenteeism.
“More impactful, however, is that it costs lives – it is deadly. From car crashes to work-related accidents, the cost of sleepiness is deadly.
“As scientists, we must understand how to help society wake up better and help reduce the mortal cost to society’s current struggle to wake up effectively each day.”
When conducting the study, the research group discovered that people who were physically active were more likely to enjoy good sleep than those who did not.
Consuming a high carbohydrate breakfast rather than sugar-laden foods also had a significant impact on the overall quality of sleep and the ability to remain alert.
Perhaps most intriguingly, the researchers discovered that playing catch-up with sleep on a particular day can actually be beneficial.
Numerous other studies claim making up a sleep deficit can disrupt a person’s sleep cycle, but Walker insists it may provide some advantages.
“Considering that the majority of individuals in society are not getting enough sleep during the week, sleeping longer on a given day can help clear some of the adenosine sleepiness debt they are carrying,” Walker added.
“In addition, sleeping later can help with alertness for a second reason. When you wake up later, you are rising at a higher point on the upswing of your 24-hour circadian rhythm, which ramps up throughout the morning and boosts alertness.”
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