Adults need six to nine hours of sleep each night, though individuals’ needs vary with in this range, according to a study by the Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine. Even one night with too little sleep can raise blood pressure and diminish our ability to focus and retain information the following day. Some of the key benefits to being well rested are:
- Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to anxiety and depression, while getting the right number of z’s has been shown to lead to improved moods overall.
- Sleep leads to better immune function, which helps us to fight off colds and the flu more effectively.
- While we sleep, our bodies release crucial hormones, like leptin, that are responsible for helping us regulate and maintain proper weight.
- When we are asleep, our mind is working to “process” everything we learned the previous day as well as preparing to take in more information the next day.
Reseting your sleep clock with an herbal sleep aid
Your circadian rhythms are your natural wake/sleep cycle. After too many late nights at work or cramming for exams, this cycle can get out of whack. Most doctors advise against using prescription sleep aids for long periods of time due to dependence issues and potential interactions. There are herbal supplements that are believed to help reset this clock, so to speak.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by our bodies to induce drowsiness and trigger sleep. Melatonin can also be purchased in supplement form. The Mayo Clinic states that “…the weight of scientific evidence does suggest that melatonin decreases the time it takes to fall asleep ("sleep latency"), increases the feeling of "sleepiness," and may increase the duration of sleep.”
It is amazing that something as basic as sleeping can have so many benefits. Getting back on track can be the first step to better health!