Now the summer is on the horizon, a good night’s sleep is soon to become harder to achieve. In typical British fashion, no temperature will be perfect. But if this summer is anything like the last, those who already struggle with getting quality sleep throughout the night will find it even harder.
As well as scorching temperatures, the late daily sunsets, dehydration, and pollen combine to pose extreme difficulties getting good sleep in the summer. But why is it so important to get a good night’s sleep?
In this article, we answer that question, and explain why sleeping with air con on may be the grand solution.
Why is Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Important?
It is said that humans spend approximately a third of their lives sleeping, as sleep is incredibly regenerative for our bodies. Good sleep allows time for your mind to rest and focus on restoring your cells and supporting healthy brain function.
In children and teenagers, sleep supports growth and development. So the side effects of sleep deprivation in these age groups can lead to respiratory, circulatory, and immune problems, and affect a child’s capacity for learning and social skills.
This is why getting quality sleep is essential and why the long term effects of sleep deprivation can be so damaging to both our physical and mental wellbeing.
The Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Now that we’ve discussed why a good night’s sleep is important, we’ll delve into more detail about the short term and long term effects of sleep deprivation.
- Lessened Concentration
Good sleep encourages cognitive processes, which makes attending school and work far less strenuous on your brain. A lack of sleep can impair your brain’s ability to solve problems, and hinder your ability to have ordinary conversations and drive safely.
- An Increased Risk of Health Problems
Studies show that 90% of people with sleep-related disorders also suffer from multiple health conditions. This is because your body is unable to repair your body during the day as it does at night. So you could have an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
- A Weakened Immune System
Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system over time because it works better when you’re asleep than when you’re awake. This is why we feel so tired and sleep more during periods of illness, because our bodies are trying to attack pathogens and viruses.
- Accelerated Ageing
Due to the overproduction of cortisol triggered by a lack of quality sleep, the collagen in your skin is interfered with, making your skin less elastic over time.
How to get a Better Night’s Sleep
Although not so simple for everyone, especially those with sleeping disorders, there are a few tactics you can employ to get a better night’s sleep and curb the side effects of sleep deprivation.
- Sleep with Aircon on
During the summer, when a good night’s sleep is harder to achieve, it is highly recommended you sleep with air conditioning on to prevent dehydration, heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Research suggests the ideal temperature for good sleep is between 15-20°C. So set your AC to this temperature and you may see a difference.
- Use a Red Light
Red light is one of the only colours of light that doesn’t disturb our sleep. It helps the brain to produce melatonin and encourages sleep rather than hindering it. Red is a warm and soothing colour that can lull you to sleep far faster than brighter colours, as it is of a longer wavelength and our eyes are less sensitive to it.
- Avoid Consuming Coffee, Alcohol and Large Meals
Coffee contains caffeine, alcohol hinders REM (the most restorative period of sleep), and large meals affect digestion, which can interfere with sleep. Research indicates that the best time to stop drinking coffee is at 2-3pm each day, to avoid impacting your sleep. For alcohol, this period is roughly four hours before bed, and for food consumption, about three hours is necessary.