HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – We’ve all heard that sleep is important, but just how important is it to our overall health. Well, according to several health officials it’s pivotal.
There’s nothing like a good night’s rest, you wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle the day ahead.
But, not many people realize all the things sleep does to one’s health, both proactively if we get enough and if we don’t get enough, it has its negative side effects.
Jamie Caldwell, founder of Caldwell Sleep Consulting and a pediatric sleep specialist says good sleep helps everything from the cardiovascular system, your hormone regulation, and even your brain.
“Sleep is absolutely vital for our brains health,” Caldwell told News 19, with sleep our brain can restore, and repair itself, “It is able to store new memories, it’s able to process new information correctly and it’s also really important for brain maturation.”
For children, the brain maturation process is extremely important at a young age, with learning and retaining information and an adequate amount of sleep will help ensure that process works efficiently.
Most people think sleep schedules are only for kids, but Caldwell and Wes Stubblefield with the Alabama Department of Public Health both agree, that a sleep schedule has no age limit.
“I tell a lot of my families trying to get on the same sleep schedule is not only important for parents and kids, but it makes the process of sticking to one much easier,” Stubblefield said.
Caldwell says when you have a good sleep schedule, your circadian rhythm is happy. The circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours.
Once it’s in a rhythm, your body can adjust easier and more quickly.
“It’s going to allow the sleep process to work more optimally, so that means the process of falling asleep, the process of staying asleep, and achieving restorative R-E-M sleep are going to happen more easily when we’re on this good schedule,” Caldwell said.
But, getting on a good schedule after having formed a habit can be difficult.
Both Caldwell and Stubblefield said things like screen time or activity before bed can activate your brain too much and cause a restless night’s sleep.
“Not exercising or exercising too close to bedtime, drinking caffeine, getting on screens too late at night or keeping screens on or noise at night, watching television in your bedroom, these are all terrible things for sleep,” Stubblefield told News 19.
But, is there such thing as too much sleep, Caldwell says know, “Everyone is different, so each body is different when it comes to adequate amounts of sleep, it’s more about the quality of sleep rather than the quantity of sleep, so it’s definitely quality over quantity when it comes to sleep.” Caldwell said.
Quality of sleep means a good deep sleep, sleeping through the night, and not waking up throughout the night.
Stubblefield says your bedroom should be a protected space, Caldwell adds your sleep environment should welcome sleep and should be cave-like, dark, cool, and quiet.
But at the end of the day, Caldwell wants people to pay just as much attention to their brain health as they do to any other part of their body.
“It’s so important, we tend to glamorize the grind, and go, go, go, and live without sleep, and that’s how we do it and that’s our society, but your brain health is just as important as any of those other factors of your bodies health,” Caldwell said.
While there are supplements and over-the-counter sleep aids, Caldwell recommends practicing healthy sleeping habits to achieve a good night’s rest.