Lesson 2 Sleep and rest

Sleep is one of the habits that can have an immediate and direct effect on your daily life.

There are two important aspects of sleep: duration and quality

  • Depending on your age, you might need different hours of sleep each night. An adult will need about 7 to 9 hours of proper sleep every night, while someone older than 65 years will need about 7 to 8 hours daily. Children may need even more, depending on their age.
  • Remember: 7 to 9 hours of sleep begins from the time you fall asleep (and not just lie down), and ends when you wake up (the first time the alarm clock rings).

Sleep deprivation is a condition that is attributed to not getting enough sleep. (sleeping less than 7 hours!)

On the next day, you may experience excessive sleepiness, slow thinking, poor decision making, lack of energy, mood changes, reduced attention span, and bad memory.

In the long-term, poor sleep duration can cause a weak immune system, cardiovascular diseases, mental health concerns, and other disorders. Obesity and diabetes have also been linked with poor sleep.

A common cause of sleep deficiency is caffeine intake (coffee drinking). Avoid drinking coffee within 6 hours of sleeping!

Sleep deficiency, on the other hand, is a more complex and inclusive condition that concerns sleep quality. It can be caused by:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sleeping hours other than night-time (wrong time of day)
  • Not getting all the types of sleep your body needs
  • Having a sleeping disorder
  • Sleep deficiency can lead to lost productivity and increased injuries, as you are less careful in your work and mental concerns throughout your day.
  • In the long term, sleep deficiency can cause high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, obesity, and depression.
  • Experienced by about 1 in 5 people worldwide (common among men).
  • In obstructive sleep apnoea, something blocks the airway during sleep and you are unable to breathe normally. This can be caused by excess weight, smoking, alcohol and even sedatives.

A common symptom of sleep apnoea is snoring. Other symptoms include morning headaches, waking up with dry mouth and throat, mood swings, memory problems, and night sweats.

  • To deal with apnoea, first get rid of the cause. If you think you may suffer from sleep apnoea, please contact your doctor.

Is sleeping more than 9 hours a day bad for you?

Oversleeping occasionally will not do any harm. However, oversleeping on a regular basis can increase your chance of suffering from many diseases. If you feel that even 9 hours of sleep are not enough, you may have a problem with sleep quality.

If I sleep for 12 hours on Saturday, will I cover the lost sleep from my week?

No, you can not compensate for sleep loss by sleeping more on the weekends!

Do the sleep recommendations include an afternoon nap?

An afternoon nap is different from a night sleep! Long duration naps can also make you feel groggy and sleepy if they last longer than 30 minutes and prevent you from having a proper sleep in the night. If you want to rest, a proper nap should last about 10 to 20 minutes to feel rested. It should rarely last 30.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2021, Your Bedroom For Better Sleep Johns Hopkins Medicine. Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/your-bedroom-for-better-sleep

  • Proper rest is not sleep but rather the “feeling of relaxation.”
  • A busy schedule and lack of personal time can lead to tardiness, regardless of sleeping quality. To unwind, you can pursue a hobby, just relax, or spend quality time with your loved ones.
  • While resting, your muscles relax, your heart rate drop, and your mind feels “empty.” Many people enjoy closing their eyes, controlling their breathing and even meditating. Resting is especially important for you, as your occupation is physically demanding and if you do not rest enough you might suffer from future muscle injuries or pain.
  • If possible, try to find some time in your day for some personal time (opt for pursuing a hobby, don’t just watch TV!)