What impact does sleep quality have on health?


By John

Health is a precious commodity, but it is also the sum of a number of factors that create a fragile balance. Among the elements most closely monitored for their direct relationship with a person’s general state of health are diet, physical activity and sleep. These three elements form the basis of the body’s normal and optimal functioning, and therefore of its health. This also has an impact on the mental health of each individual, so it’s important to do everything possible to maintain, optimize or improve the conditions conducive to overall health. We will be taking a particular interest in sleep, where numerous scientific studies have shown the benefits of certain sleep conditions in reducing certain health risks.

Sleep well to live longer: night-time rest conditions not to be neglected

The results of several scientific studies published in recent years show the major role played by a number of criteria in standard daily rest. The most important of these are room temperature, quality of bedding, noise level and ambient light. All these factors contribute to setting each person on the path to a more or less restful and healthy sleep. Of course, while everyone’s tastes and habits help them fall asleep, it’s in terms of their impact on health that studies have been carried out. Before telling you whether you should wear a black sleep mask over your eyes to get a better night’s sleep, let’s look at the risks involved.

The risks in question are major and multiple. In fact, the slightest variation in the level of one of the criteria observed will, in the long term, have a greater or lesser impact on:

  • the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • the risk of diabetes
  • the risk of obesity.

These three diseases are closely linked, particularly in the case of type 2 diabetes, to lifestyle habits that go beyond sleep. A sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, eating habits and genetic predisposition all play a part in the onset of the disease.

What can you do to improve the quality of your sleep?

As we have said, one of the most important factors in getting a good night’s sleep and rest is the temperature of the room you are in. A room that is too warm slows down or even prevents you from falling asleep. The ideal temperature is around 18° Celsius. Don’t try to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold either: while body temperature falls during the sleep phase, a temperature that’s too low can also prevent you from falling asleep quickly and restoratively.

The quality of your bedding also counts: the softness or hardness of the mattress, the thickness of the pillows, etc. Anything that contributes to an ergonomic body position at rest is good for sleep and health. Semi-recumbent positions with too much thickness under the head and shoulders should be avoided. The stomach position should also be avoided: back pain, neck twisting and breathing difficulties are the main complaints about this position. A position on the back or on the side is generally preferable.

Finally, light and its excessive intensity play a role in the body’s ability to absorb and synthesize sugar or glucose. This leads to a rise in blood sugar levels, and therefore to the clinical signs of diabetes, a dangerous disease with long-term complications that requires a great deal of daily treatment. By choosing to sleep in complete darkness, you can considerably improve these abilities and enjoy a more restful sleep. To achieve this, because not all room configurations allow it, it will be possible to apply opaque black adhesive tape to all the small LEDs and lights on the equipment around the bed. It will also be possible to wear a sleep mask, as you might on a plane, for example.

By modifying the conditions in which you fall asleep, you will improve the secretion of a hormone, melatonin, which will encourage you to fall asleep quickly and therefore sleep longer and healthier. This is not insignificant in terms of the possible consequences for your health, but it’s also relatively simple to put in place. It’s worth the effort, and it’s never too late to realize this and change your habits.