Sleep is very important for your health and your well being. A good night’s sleep is much more than a luxury. Its benefits include improvements in concentration, short-term memory, productivity, mood, sensitivity to pain and immune function. People may take longer to fall asleep, and they tend to get sleepy earlier in the evening and to awaken earlier in the morning. More time is spent in the lighter stages of sleep and less in restorative deep sleep. R.E.M. sleep, during which the mind processes emotions and memories and relieves stress, also declines with age.
Studies have shown that people function best after seven to eight hours of sleep, so try to aim for a solid seven hours, the amount associated with the lowest mortality rate. These researchers found no significant changes in the participants’ blood levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, but others have found that short sleepers have lower levels of appetite-suppressing leptin and higher levels of ghrelin, which prompts an increase in calorie intake.
Also try to resist the temptation to squeeze one more thing into the end of your day. If health problems disrupt your sleep, seek treatment that can lessen their effect.
Sleep loss may also affect the function of a group of neurons in the hypothalamus of the brain, where another hormone, orexin, is involved in the regulation of feeding behavior. Therefore, If you have trouble falling asleep or often awaken during the night and can’t get back to sleep, you could try taking supplements of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep inducer.