It is considered that sleep is the best way to rest, a source of good health and good mood, and it is necessary for a person at a physiological level. Alertness, performance, health, and even daily mood directly depend on sleep quality and duration. If people do not have enough sleep or, worse, suffer from insomnia, they become lethargic, and their well-being is seriously affected. Factors such as diet, lifestyle, stress, and fatigue can significantly affect a person’s sleep quality.
Research in the field of sleep physiology has established that this process is cyclical. One cycle lasts one or two hours and consists of two patterns that alternate during the night: rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep or “fast sleep” and non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep or “slow sleep.” Each phase of sleep is different in duration and has several stages (Medic et al., 2017). REM sleep is characterized by the activation of all internal organs that slow down in the slow phase. After a slow sleep stage comes, the fast phase occurs. NREM sleep gradually changes from drowsiness to deep sleep, and then the stages alternate in reverse order. Given that the second stage of the slow phase and the first of the fast phase are similar in their physiological and biological characteristics. The REM stage function is a psychological adaptation, ordering, and analysis of the information received during the day when NREM sleep is a crucial period that allows the body to accumulate specific forces and energy (Medic et al., 2017). Thus, neglecting the sleep stages can lead to negative consequences for psychological and physical health.
Analysis of the sleep diary shows that physiological and physical health is in direct interaction and both affect the quality and duration of sleep. There is a direct trace of a pattern in which any deterioration in health immediately affects sleep and dreams. Mental health is characterized by the absence of disorders and a state of well-being, mental balance, which helps a person to quickly and effectively adapt to environmental conditions and resist negative factors. Stress is the leading cause of mental health problems (Chopra et al., 2020). It usually occurs with increased emotional and mental stress or psychological trauma due to intense exposure to adverse environmental factors. Too much stress negatively affects the quality of sleep, causing problems with falling asleep and it can provoke abnormal dreams or their complete absence.
After analyzing the dream diary, I can conclude that the state of my physical and psychological health directly affects sleep. Thus, the erratic work schedule and the length of sleep caused more odd dreams with unusual scenarios. For this reason, I had difficulty waking up and felt lethargic throughout the day. Furthermore, anxiety considerably changed what happened in the dreams. They became shorter, and sometimes they were not remembered at all. The lack of proper sleep greatly affected the emotional state, which led to lucid dreams, where it was difficult to realize what reality was and what was not.
Diet is the second major factor affecting a person’s sleep. It is proved that such drinks as tea and coffee lead to sleep violations. These are drinks that contain a large amount of caffeine, which can remain in the body for about twelve hours and affects the tone and vigor of a person. Thus, it is not recommended to drink tea and coffee immediately before going to bed and during the evening. It is also worth noting that after analyzing the sleep diary, it can be concluded that poor nutrition and fasting also have a substantial effect on sleep. Eating at least a couple of hours before bedtime allows the body to process the food properly to avoid insomnia. Fatty and spicy foods that are popular in modern society can negatively affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and the heart rate and blood pressure and interfere with sleep.
Active pastime and sports, dancing, and other activities before going to bed do not favor easy falling asleep. The body has to prepare for sleep, and it cannot adapt instantly. It is recommended, on the contrary, to be more active during the day to guarantee a sufficient sleep (Chopra et al., 2020). The observance of the daily routine, which most of the population suffers, can also be attributed to this factor. Irregular sleep schedule and work at night negatively affect the body, disrupting the biological clock and thereby sleep.
Having considered all the factors that negatively affect sleep quality and duration, some rules can be deduced to improve it. First, a person needs to adhere to a regular sleep schedule, that is, going to bed and waking up at the same time. Such measures allow the body to get a complete rest and reboot. Furthermore, there should be no caffeine consumption, which is contained in coffee and tea, six hours before going to bed. An essential point is the exclusion of overeating and heavy physical exertion a few hours before going to bed. Sleep is essential for the physical operations of the body, as it also helps maintain cognitive skills such as attention, learning, memory, and emotional regulation (Medic et al., 2017). An adequate night’s rest is even at the base of people’s ability to perceive the world around accurately.
Sleep is an effective way to relieve physical and mental stress. It is the body’s physiological defense, the need, which is caused by complex psychophysiological processes. During sleep, there are changes in the entire vital activity of the body; energy consumption decreases, the systems that have suffered overloading are restored and begin to function. That is why it is essential to follow the sleep schedule to avoid negative consequences on the health.
Chopra, A., Das, P. & Doghramji, K. (2020). Management of sleep disorders in psychiatry. Oxford University Press.
Medic, G., Wille, M., & Hemels, M. E. (2017). Short-and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. Nature and Science of Sleep, 9, 151. Web.