Sleep influences our physical and mental well-being to a great extent. It is important to understand that not only the duration of sleep (usually 6 - 8 hours), but also the quality of sleep is crucial. Our health depends up to 90% on the quality of our sleep.
There are 2 sleep types, the morning person, the "lark" and the evening person, the "owl". However, all sleep types have the same sleep-wake rhythm which is controlled by cycles. The hormone melatonin, the sleep hormone, is responsible for controlling these cycles. It is produced in the vertebral gland, a part of the diencephalon. Melanin is produced at night, when it is dark. Melatonin takes over the control of the sleep-wake rhythm and other time-dependent rhythms of the body. Bright screens of cell phones, televisions or laptops emit blue short-wave light and effectively suppress the release of melatonin. That's why you should avoid them later in the evening and ban electronic devices from the bedroom as far as possible.
The sleep phases consist of the REM phase and the non-REM phase. The REM phase is the phase in which mental recovery takes place. We dream and process mental states, emotions and psychophysiological memories. We sort learned things and strengthen our memory. In other words, we create order in the mind. In contrast, in the non-REM phase, the deep sleep phase, physical recovery takes place. We recharge our batteries and the immune system can do its work to the fullest. Sleep is the time of recovery and repair. We sleep to regenerate. We go through 4 - 6 sleep intervals per night. These are repeatedly interrupted by short periods of waking up. On average, we wake up to 28 times in one night, more or less unconsciously.
If we lack restorative sleep, impairments follow. Lack of sleep has been proven to make us ill and has numerous serious consequences:
- Weakening of the immune system
- Reduction in performance
- Decreased concentration and attention
- Headaches and gastrointestinal problems
- Bad mood and irritability
Chronic sleep deprivation leads to sleep disorder in the long run. This can manifest itself in a pathological sleep disorder. This manifests itself by a frequently restless sleep with repeated awakenings. The risk is increased by permanent stress at work, noise and high and regular alcohol consumption. Sleep disorders are associated with depression, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. The quality of life deteriorates and so does the perceived state of health. To protect ourselves from sleep disorders, we should also be physically active on a regular basis and seek support from our social environment. Systematic relaxation training, such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation, also helps to protect against sleep disorders. You can find more information about this in our blog post "Reserves are formed during recovery". With this in mind, we wish you a relaxing and restful night.