A lot of things have been said and written about the need to stay healthy especially amidst the current global health challenge the world is going through. People are doing their utmost to boost their immune system and stay healthy. But have you considered how your bedtime might be connected to your health? Maximizing the usage of your bedtime has so many benefits: It increases the ability of your body to fight infections and decreases body inflammations; it makes you mentally sharper; it has a huge effect on your performance in physical activities like sports; it increases your ability to concentrate and generally make you more a more focused worker. The good part of it all is that this activity is simple and well within everyone’s capacity. Yes, you can do more by doing less.

Do you constantly need an alarm clock to wake up on time? Do you always rely on the snooze button? Do you always have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning? Do you fall asleep while reading? Do you fall asleep while driving; feel the need to sleep in on weekends; fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed; feel sluggish in the afternoon, get sleepy in meetings and lectures, get drowsy while driving; need a nap to go through the day? There is a huge chance you might be sleep-deprived!

People rarely have sufficient bedtime in our modern age. Forty-three percent of Americans between the ages 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weekdays. The reason why it has been hard for many people to get sufficient sleep has inspired many research work. The danger of inadequate sleep and bedtime is costing so many people their health and vibrant living. Researchers have found the link between sleep deprivation and inability to focus on tasks; a decrease in the ability of the brain to concentrate, resulting in more mistakes, poor grades, an increased likelihood of weight gain together with a reduced ability to fight infections. It has further been proven that even a little sleep loss takes a toll on your mood, energy, and ability to handle stress. Sadness and depression could also be linked to sleep deprivation. Susan Redline, professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, found the relationship between sleep deprivation and the onset of brain disorders such as anxiety and bipolar depression. Psychologists Brad Wolgast at the University of Delaware said, “When you find depression, even when you find anxiety and you scratch the surface, 80 to 90 percent of the time you find sleep problem as well.”

Those who pride themselves on coping well on less sleep, though often deliver the same result as well as those who are well-rested, cannot sustain it because they cannot maintain focus. While it is true that we all lose focus from time to time, getting enough sleep helps the brain to compensate for the fuzzy moments and increase its attention. “A sleep-deprived brain usually enters a sleep-like state,” says Dr. Clifford Saper of Harvard University. These sleep-like states come in the form of micro-naps. So to compensate for a lack of or insufficient sleep, our bodies snap into micro-naps. For a sleep-deprived person, the region of the brain responsible for planning and evaluating decisions simply shuts down. This means we are more inclined to be overly optimistic and happy to take risks.

It is common for students to pull an all-nighter before taking an exam, but studies have shown this to be unwise and even detrimental to the overall performance in such an exam. Studies have shown that last-minute cramming does more harm than good. We consolidate memories when we have a deep sleep. During sleep, the brain breaks information down, processing what we have learned during the previous work. If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain doesn’t get that important leaning time. So, all-nighter usually weakens the mental circuits responsible for memory.

We are limited as human beings. It can be very frustrating when we have a lot to achieve but know that if you push yourself too hard, you will get sick and break down. As few of us have the option of sleeping indefinitely, what do we do? We must go to bed on time! In many respects, our performance the following day and our overall wellbeing depend on it. You might want to consider one or two of the following tips: Practice relaxation techniques before bed; avoid TV and computer screens well before bed; cut off late-night internet access; avoid caffeine, especially later in the afternoon and at night; force yourself to wake earlier in the morning.

Research after research has shown how essential a good night’s sleep is. It is only proper to plan our bedtime. You can get focused, productive, think sharper, live with vitality simply by giving more attention to your bedtime. As they say, health is wealth. So take care of your health, go to bed!

Author's Bio: 

Gbadamosi Adedayo is a chemist cum writer who likes to express his thoughts on happenings around the world. In his free time, he likes to watch football and try his hands on coding.