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Sleep: An Easy Way to Improve Overall Health

Updated on May 24, 2012
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Sleep Tips to Complement Your Body's Activity During Sleep

Part of what stress does is reduce your bodies ability to regulate hormones. Hormones are produced during sleep. One way to improve your overall health is to focus on getting sufficient, QUALITY sleep. Here are some tips in order of importance:

1. Wake up the same time every day, even off days. Catch up on sleep by going to bed early.

2. Be sure to sleep between the hours of 11 pm and 3 am.

3. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night.

4. Do not eat for 3 hours before sleeping.

5. Do not drink for 1 hour before sleeping.

6. Read/ think positive before sleeping. Be sure to forgive wherever needed. (This is also known as the 'Don't go to bed angry' rule.)

What Causes the Freshman Fifteen?

The "Freshman 15" is a term used to describe the fifteen extra pounds gained by college freshman. What causes this gain? Is it the dormitory cafeteria food? Is it the beer and pizza socials?

Those may be contributing factors. However, the real culprit is this: staying up late at social and study events, then rising early. These short sleep sessions reduce the hormone production of hormones which control eating and fat breakdown. Formerly, the dominant theory of hormone production was that hormones are produced when they are needed. The system reacts to a shortage and triggers production of the scarce hormones. That theory has been replaced with this: the body produces hormones in phases.

The body first begins to produce a group of hormones which it needs. When one of these hormone levels is attained, the body ceases production and begins production on a new hormone. Several unique hormones are being replenished at any time- but not all. The sequence in which the hormones are produced follows the same pattern every night. One of the last of these is the fat control hormone. So, as soon as a person begins to regularly keep a negative balance of sleep, fat stores begin to increase.

So, again, a healthy balance of sleep contributes to health.

Wake at the Same Time Every Day

This is number one on the above list. When you set your alarm regularly for the same morning time, your body adapts. It will become conditioned to wake a few minutes before the alarm sounds. Waking naturally is greatly superior to being jolted out of sleep in the middle of a sleep cycle.

Each of us has experienced a smooth transition to waking- a natural wake-up. Being kicked out of a dream by a pet jumping on the bed, or a passing firetruck produces a very different result. Those days are liking in a fog through most of the morning.

What Happens when You Sleep During the Day?

Napping

Taking a nap is one of the wisest things you can do. When I ran three businesses and was taking classes at the University of Pennsylvania, I used naps to reduce the overall number of hours my body required for sleeping. Here are some napping rules:

Try to keep the nap at about 30 minutes. But, leave your schedule that you can go 90 minutes, if your body wants it.

Never nap after 5. Not after 3 if you can help it. Napping late in the day will keep you awake later than an optimum sleep schedule requires.

If you can't get to sleep on your back in the afternoon for a nap, try sleeping on your stomach. That always worked for me.

In the late 90's, I used the napping schedule. Without naps, I required 7 and half hours sleep each night (11 pm to 6:30 am). When I started napping, I could wake at 5:30, nap for 30 to 45 minutes around 1 in the afternoon and feel fresh and energetic all day long. Napping gave me an extra 15 to 30 minutes each day (about 3%), and I the quality of what I could do during that time was higher and the work was more effective.

Try to nap at 1 in the afternoon. This is the best time. (If it is at least 90 minutes after your last meal. If you are rising early, breakfast is before 7, and lunch can be at 11.)

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    • Man from Modesto profile image
      Author

      Man from Modesto 6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      What happens during sleep? A: As far as this "to the point" (see summary) hub is concerned: hormones that regulate body functions are produced.

      How does the body refresh itself? A: Sleep... during which time hormones which regulate body systems are produced, blood is filtered, food is digested... and all beyond this hub.

      How does using computers relate to sleeping? A: How does doing a crossword puzzle or vacuuming the carpet affect sleep? Beyond the scope of this hub, which is about rules to improve the quality of sleep.

      How to prepare for sleeping? A: see numbers 4 & 5, above.

      What happens when you sleep during the day: A: This one is worth answering in the hub, see new subtopic, above.

    • Sustainable Sue profile image

      Sustainable Sue 6 years ago from Altadena CA, USA

      What happens during sleep? How does the body refresh itself? How does using computers relate to sleeping? How is it best to prepare for sleeping well? What happens when you sleep during the day? This hub needs to be fleshed out a bit.

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