You can be healthy working nights

Sleep and our health

Our sleep - a basic need
Sleep accompanies people from the first to the last day of their lives. Those who sleep well hardly notice sleep, it seems so natural. Only when we sleep badly do we feel that it is as vital as eating and drinking. In sleep we relax, gather new strength, physically and mentally. Persistent lack of sleep causes our energies and productivity to drop. A lot can help, a lot can also improve our sleep. First of all: A good bed belongs to good sleep - ideally with a system. It lets us sleep better at night and increases our well-being during the day.

What determines the quality of sleep?
Sleep well, be relaxed and wide awake in the morning - this is how you can describe the quality of sleep. But how does it come about? Many factors contribute to good or bad sleep: health or illness, physical and mental constitution, personal lifestyles and behavior, relaxation or stress in work and private life, environmental influences inside and outside, bedroom and bed. We feel how this network is linked in our sleep as a mirror of our daily life. We don't have to put up with bad sleep. Where there are many causes, ways to change open up. An example: we often wake up bruised and our back hurts, it's time to look inside the bed. How old is it? Are the suspension and mattress worn out? Do they adapt to your own needs? Not only sleep, but also the bed is so familiar to us that we usually don't think much about it. But a third of the life we ​​spend in sleep is in bed. The best reason to ensure quality in this beautiful place.

Sleep has its rhythm
Everyone sleeps in a similar way. We go through four to five sleep phases in the course of a normal night, depending on how long we sleep. A sleep phase lasts on average about 90 minutes and leads from a light sleep stage through medium depths of sleep to sound sleep and then back up again. There is a change at the top, rapid eye movements herald the active REM sleep (rapid eye movements), in which one dreams intensely. Then, as with an ascent and descent, down and up again, the next phases of sleep follow, in a slightly different way. In the first half of the night we spend more time in deep sleep, in the second more in lighter sleep stages and in dream sleep. In addition to this fairly constant sleep rhythm, everyone has their own personal sleep profile, and the individual sleep phases can be shorter or longer. They can be disturbed or harmonious in the process.

Sleep gives you active relaxation
With sleep at night, we humans have adapted better to our surroundings. Resting at night saves energy and protects us from darkness, cold and confusing dangers. In the past, sleep was seen as a passive state; it was called the little brother of death. Thanks to modern sleep research, we now know that sleep is a second, active state of life in addition to waking. Above all, the deeper sleep phases serve our physical recovery. The human organism goes through a night program: movement, muscle activity, body temperature, breathing, blood pressure and heart activity decrease. Many restorative processes take place here. So take z. B. the intervertebral discs in the spine at night by relieving the fluid with the nutrients contained therein and regenerate from the stresses of the day.

Dreams - active for mind and soul
Everyone dreams several times every night, especially intensely in the dream phases. We dream even when we don't remember. Sleep researchers are still arguing about the exact functions of dreams. It is known that they are associated with a lively brain function and presumably serve our mental and emotional recovery. In dreams we process experiences and impressions of the day or simply forget them again. Dreams can serve to anchor what has been learned better, to shape behavior or to delete useless. And sometimes they are reminiscent of unresolved conflicts. This tidying up, sorting and organizing of our experiences, learning and feeling impressions is obviously vital. The dream work creates free spaces for new perception and experience. We would do well to make room for our dreams with a good night's sleep.

How much sleep does the human need?
Anyone who feels rested and awake in the morning has slept well. How many hours of sleep this is achieved can vary from person to person. The often mentioned eight hours of sleep are a guideline, not a norm. There are typical short and late sleepers. Some people regularly sleep well after five to six hours, and most people need between seven and eight hours of sleep to be rested. And typical late risers have to sleep around nine hours to feel fully efficient. In the course of life everyone gets to know their personal sleep level. We feel best when we largely stick to it. A tip: Our inner attitude towards sleep is important. If you have to get by with a short sleep, no problem. Every now and then we can cope with a little less sleep. As an exception - which just shouldn't become the rule.

About waking up
For some, getting up early is a pleasure, for others a burden. Sleep researchers speak of larks and owls and my early risers and late risers. Some people neither sleep healthier nor are they more active than others, they have different day and night rhythms. Larks are wide awake early in the morning, tire in the afternoon and soon go to bed in the evening. Owls prefer to postpone getting up late in the morning, have their most active phases in the afternoon until evening, and go to bed late. Whether lark, owl or in between like most people, start the day in peace. For some, the best time in bed is before getting up. Enjoy waking up and give your muscles a little time to get active. Loll, stretch and stretch your limbs like a cat. Support yourself with arms and legs as you stand up and keep your spine straight. A few minutes of morning exercise at the open window? Your body and mind will thank you. Even if a busy day awaits, this time is only yours. Start the morning calmly and calmly and you will cope with difficult tasks more easily.

Sleep before midnight
For a long time, sleep before midnight was considered the best. If you go to bed late, you don't have to feel guilty. In the first half of sleep, we spend more time in deep sleep, which is so important for our recovery. Those who fall asleep around midnight, provided they sleep well, only experience it later than the larks who turn off the light earlier.

Our internal clock controls sleep
We can plan to fall asleep. Whether and when we sleep is beyond our will. Sleep is controlled by an internal clock, the center of which is in the brain. Many body processes have their own rhythms, body temperature, blood pressure, our activity during the day such as resting in sleep. The internal clock specifies a day and night rhythm that we largely follow. After that we are short or late sleepers, lark or owl or in the middle in between. If we make the exception the rule and live against our rhythm, we feel overtired, sleepless and as if battered. If we follow the internal clock for a long time and adapt with regular sleep times, we are rested, strengthened and balanced in the morning. And we wake up at the right time, usually a few minutes before the alarm clock tries to remind us.

From sleeping through the night and waking up
If we sleep, we do not consciously perceive our body and senses until we wake up. It is nice to sleep through the night. Short periods of wakefulness, because the bladder may be pushing, are normal. Sleep should not be disturbed too often and for too long, otherwise it will be too light. The restful deep sleep is not achieved or not achieved enough, the total sleep time is too short. If you sleep well, you usually open your eyes at the usual time. But some wake up long before the desired waking time. Temporarily, e.g. If you are under stress, for example, this is not a cause for alarm. However, if you regularly cannot sleep through the night or if you wake up long before you get up, you should ask your doctor for advice.

Shift work disrupts natural sleep and wake rhythms
Many people live against their day and night rhythms by working at night. We can cope with slight shifts in sleep times; our bodies never get used to night work. Modern rotating shift systems with only three working nights in a row make adjustment easier, but there are still enough loads. This means that sleep is usually easier and shorter during the day than at night. Light, noise and disturbance of the body's rhythm that has been adjusted to activity. Over time, this has consequences, well-being and concentration are disturbed, diseases can set in. Those who work at night should help their bodies stay awake. Good nutrition and some exercise to cheer us up keep us more active at night. Two sleep phases, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon before the start of the new night shift, allow you to gather more strength. And make sure that "interferers" such as the telephone and doorbell remain silent or inaudible.

How we turn and turn: changes in position
Life is movement, that also applies at night. A sleeper changes his posture around 40 to 60 times. Neither one offers complete relaxation for a long time. Each, however, relieves the burden in relation to the previous and daily burden. However, if you move too much or too little during sleep, sleep is restless or rigid. There are usually reasons for this. A bad bed creates or prevents too much movement during sleep. A cold or hard bed forces the body to constantly change its posture. A bed that is too soft, on the other hand, fixes because too much force has to be used to turn it over. A good bed with a system and a well-supporting mattress allows natural movements during sleep. And for those who want to relax comfortably so that they can fall asleep better and stay asleep, the gently swaying "Calmas" bed is recommended.

Natural remedies for sleep disorders
In the case of “light” plant-based sleeping pills, the combination of substances and their dosage is important. Valerian, hops, kava kava, lemon balm and passion flower relieve restlessness and nervousness. St. John's wort brightens the mood and improves concentration. All have a mild effect, but can also have side effects. It is best to leave it to your doctor to choose the drug that is right for you and to manage its intake and withdrawal.

Herbal teas - the gentle way to sleep
Herbal teas can also calm you down in the evening and help you fall asleep if you are slightly restless. Has proven itself z. B. Valerian tea. Don't expect too much from herbal teas and be patient. If you have severe sleep disorders, going to the doctor will help you more quickly and reliably.

Sleeping pills for insomnia: if used correctly, they can help
Many people reject sleeping pills because of the known side effects, e.g. B. possible dependence, deter. Others take them for years because of chronic insomnia. By the way, even if some believe in it, alcohol is unsuitable as a "sleep-maker". It disrupts the sleep process and often lets you wake up too early towards morning due to withdrawal symptoms. A good use of sleeping pills looks different. They can help effectively with severe sleep disorders, as the longed-for sleep sets in and new strength is gathered with which the problem can be solved in the long term. There is an abundance of preparations, chemical, herbal, combined, over-the-counter and prescription-only. It is up to your doctor to decide which remedy is right for you. Depending on the sleep disorder, he can find the right preparation, determine the dosage and intake. He knows that sleeping pills change the course of sleep and are therefore not recommended in the long term. He will therefore ensure that you do not take the preparation for too long and that you stop it properly. And take the necessary measures to find the causes of disturbed sleep in order to eliminate them in the long term.

Better to fall asleep more relaxed
Sleep well, be relaxed and wide awake in the morning - this is how you can describe the quality of sleep. But how does it come about? Many factors contribute to good or bad sleep: health or illness, physical and mental constitution, personal lifestyles and behavior, relaxation or stress in work and private life, environmental influences inside and outside, bedroom and bed. We feel how this network is linked in our sleep as a mirror of our daily life. We don't have to put up with bad sleep. Where there are many causes, ways to change open up. An example: we often wake up bruised and our back hurts, it's time to look inside the bed. How old is it? Are the suspension and mattress worn out? Do they adapt to your own needs? Not only sleep, but also the bed is so familiar to us that we usually don't think much about it. But a third of the life we ​​spend in sleep is in bed. The best reason to ensure quality in this beautiful place.

The ideal climate in the bedroom
Sleeping cold is healthy, preached our grandparents, who made a hardened virtue out of often unheated rooms. In well-heated bedrooms, nobody has to be afraid of being softened these days; the body and muscles find warmer temperatures very pleasant. They protect against tension and colds. The room temperature in the bedroom should be around 18 ° Celsius. Women and older people usually love it a little warmer, they can let the temperature rise to 20 °. The argument of some couples about cooler or warmer room temperatures during sleep can be resolved with the help of different warming bed equipment. So you can agree on a basic temperature. A good indoor climate while sleeping includes pleasant humidity. 50% is ideal for all living spaces, including the bedroom. If the humidity is too low, the nasal mucous membranes can dry out. B. promote snoring.

Light and noise can disturb sleep
Some people who live near busy traffic arteries think that you get used to noise. Loud engines, station noise, and the roar of planes can be overheard after a while. But sleep in noisy surroundings is not very relaxing and clearly disturbed. In the long run, noise can make you sick. If you have to sleep in a noisy environment, for the sake of your health you should keep the noises in the bedroom as quiet as possible. Check that you are using the quietest room to sleep. If not, could you rearrange your room? You should do this for the sake of your sleep and yourself. If that is not enough, closed windows, preferably in double layers, and lowered shutters lower the noise level. Bright street lights or neon signs can also affect restful sleep. This can be remedied by opaque curtains or blinds in front of windows and glass doors.

Snoring is sometimes quite loud. This disturbs less your own sleep than that of your partner. When snoring, the muscles in the throat relax, the tongue and lower jaw sink backwards and impede nasal breathing. The typical snoring sounds are caused by breathing through the mouth. Men snore earlier and more often than women; with increasing age, both sexes increasingly do so. Occasional light snoring is harmless. A well-supporting pillow or the slight elevation of the headboard in bed can help. Avoid lavish food and alcohol in the evening, you will sleep more peacefully and snore less. If you snore loudly all the time, you should take remedial action. Your partner can sleep more peacefully in a second bedroom; medical treatment is the best way to help snorers. Being very overweight can promote loud snoring as well as some diseases and constrictions in the nose and throat. Snoring can also be associated with minor respiratory arrests during sleep (apneas), which can be treated well by a doctor.

Stress and strain often disturb sleep
Every person experiences times in life that put a lot of strain on them. Separations, partner crises, job problems, unemployment and unresolved conflicts cause body and soul to suffer. They can also significantly decrease the quality of your sleep. It is difficult to “switch off”, the silence in the evening makes you brood, sleep disorders can set in. Check out our tips for better relaxation. Perhaps you cannot cope with your problem on your own, then seek support.Learn to relax better with guidance, seek advice from experienced experts and in self-help groups; perhaps psychological therapy can help. There are many ways that can help eliminate insomnia and its causes.

Sleep and old age
Sleep changes for a lifetime. If a baby spends most of the day sleeping, night sleep is often only five to six hours in old age. Like small children, older people sleep in several phases. They often take an afternoon nap and nod off every now and then during the day. If you include this rest period, some people get their usual sleep time in old age. However, many older people suffer from severe sleep problems. You can e.g. B. caused by heavy stress, illness and pain and should be treated by a doctor.

From eating and drinking in the evening
A full stomach does not like to sleep, it is too busy digesting. A light dinner, high in carbohydrates, not too late in the evening, promotes sleep. Stimulating drinks such as coffee, tea and cola should be avoided in good time, depending on the predisposition, before going to bed. The same applies to large amounts of fluids before sleep, which drive you out of bed at night. Herbal teas have a more calming effect in the evening or at night. Try it, some taste better than you think. Teas made from lavender, linden blossom, oranges or hawthorn are tried and tested sleeping trunks, and milk is one of them. Valerian tea can help with slight restlessness (see p. 9), but not alcohol. There is nothing wrong with alcohol in the evening, larger amounts should be avoided. Alcohol disrupts sleep through toxins and withdrawal just like nicotine. Limit consumption in the evening. If you can, it is best to do without both.

A sleep ritual lets you sleep better
An evening sleep ritual provides space for relaxation from daytime activities. It's good for all of us. If you have disturbed sleep, it should become a dear habit. Here are the most important rules: - Avoid or keep your nap and nap short - Eat lightly and not too late in the evening - Drink coffee and tea only until the early afternoon - Avoid alcohol if possible, do not smoke or smoke very little - Relax in the evening, go for a walk, listen to music , read, play, etc. - take a calming sleeping drink - always carry out sleep preparations and hygiene in the same way - go to bed and get up at the same time if possible - do relaxation exercises before going to sleep - set the alarm clock out of hearing and sight - avoid lying awake in bed, those who cannot sleep stand up and do a quiet activity until they get tired, the same applies to waking up at night - remove light and noise as disturbing factors during sleep - create a pleasant room and sleeping climate - check bed quality and improve if necessary.

How much do we sweat per night?
Night after night, a sleeper releases an average of about half a liter of fluid. In the case of profuse sweating or illness, it can be considerably more. Some of the moisture is drawn off through the breath, while most of it gets through the skin in sleeping clothes and bed. In ten years this can grow to around 1200 liters, which corresponds to about five full bathtubs. Part of this liquid is discharged into the room air through the duvet. Since the sleeper rests directly on the mattress with their body, a large part of the moisture gets into the mattress, night after night. For a good night's sleep, a warm, dry bed climate should be maintained at night. Therefore, every day residual moisture has to be drained to the outside. The more air-permeable mattress core and covers are, the better the exchange of air and moisture. Special channels for ventilation in the mattress support the ideal bed climate.

Tips for those allergic to house dust
House dust is a natural habitat for mites, the parasites that are widespread in our homes. The mites themselves are harmless, but their droppings can cause allergies. Organic upholstery such as wool, cotton or horsehair cause dust through fiber abrasion, and in damp heat these are ideal breeding grounds for mites. Synthetic bed fittings provide a remedy, as mites do not nestle in inorganic materials. There is absolutely nothing wrong with blends of cotton / synthetic as long as they are washed regularly at 60 ° C. In severe cases, special plastic covers for mattresses and bedding can help. Good bed care increases allergic protection. The bed and its furnishings should be easy to clean. Frequent vacuuming and regular washing of a removable mattress cover at 60 ° C reduce the number of mites and prevent dirt in the mattress core. Is this inorganic, e.g. B. made of PUR foam, the "mite household" can be further reduced. But if you are unsure about the "trigger", you can have yourself tested by the doctor and then set up the bedroom and bed in such a way that they can tolerate all materials. By the way: latex is strongly suspected of causing allergies.