We all like to sleep a certain way, whether it’s curled up, spread out, fully stretched, or one leg extended with the other contracted. Regardless, as long as one is nicely tucked inside a warm, cosy blanket, there is no fuss. In fact, a blanket has become a requirement to a comfortable sleep. Ever wonder why? Well, science has the answer.
The reason why all of us prefer to sleep under a blanket than without one lies in our body’s temperature changes when we sleep. The human body witnesses a slight drop in temperature right before drifting off to sleep, and then again during slumber, decreasing as much as two degrees. But then comes REM sleep, the deepest form of sleep during which you also experience the phenomenon of dreams, and the body’s temperature regulation mechanism is completely lost. This is where the blanket comes in handy, becoming an extra layer of skin to help the body stay warm.
However, it’s not all to do with the physical aspects of the human body. There is also a psychological aspect to wanting a blanket at night, one that became a part of you ever since you came into this world.
Sleeping under a blanket increases the serotonin levels in the brain, which causes a reduction in stress hormones.
According to Dr. Alice Hoagland, who works at the Unity Sleep Disorder Centre in a directorial position for the insomniac clinic, whenever you went to sleep throughout your early years, you were folded in or placed under a blanket, developing a connection in your mind between sleep and blankets.
There is also research that shows how sleeping under a blanket has benefits for people who suffer from insomnia or anxiety because of the added comfort and the sense of protection that is provided by the blanket “hug”.
How Many Hours Should You Be Sleeping at Night?
Sleep is important to improve the body’s immune system, boost metabolism, as well as repair any damage to the body’s functions, including organs. However, many people believe they are not getting enough sleep, with some sleeping as little as 3 hours while others not leaving the bed before 10 hours of undisturbed slumber. Is there a recommended amount of sleep?
According to Dr. Rachel Morehouse, who is a Medical Director at the Atlantic Sleep Centre, that number is entirely dependent upon the needs of an individual. However, that does not mean that you start skipping essential sleeping hours to get more work done. The National Sleep Foundation situated in D.C. does recommend you get 7-9 hours of sleep every night if you lie between the 26-64 age bracket, while those who are more than 65 years of age need 7-8 hours. The Foundation also highlights that the number of hours you need also depend on your genetic code, meaning that if your parent or grandparent sleeps as long as 9 hours at night, you would need to do the same to feel fresh and well-rested.
Not everyone needs to sleep the same amount of hours but, a minimum of 7 hours must always be respected
There are other factors which you need to take into consideration as well, such as your lifestyle, the quality of sleep you get, and your personal health condition. For example, athletes require more rest than those who don’t exercise as much, or women in their third trimester require more sleep than those who are not expecting a child. Even when you are suffering from a flu, you will need more rest than the average healthy person.
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Lack of adequate sleep can cause a variety of issues for your physical and psychological health, such as tiredness, issues with memory, and compromised decision-making ability. Getting adequate sleep is essential to function normally and to your full potential.
Ensure You Get the Sleep You Need
Many people fall asleep at the right time but can’t fall asleep till a later hour, compromising on their schedule and resulting in sleeplessness. Here are a few tips for you to get a good quality of sleep every night.
– First, ensure you stay away from caffeine or any kind of stimulant that will keep your brain awake for longer than needed. Remember, even light is a stimulant, so that last-check of the phone before closing your eyes will disturb your sleep.
– Secondly, you need to develop a routine. Hit the bed at the same time every night to reset your body clock and let it adjust to your new routine.
It is good practice to monitor your sleep every night for a while, with the help of wearable technology, to assess how much sleep you need. That way, you can adjust your routine accordingly.
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