About SleepGood sleep provides mental and physical rejuvenation. Sleep psychologist Dr. Guy Meadows says that amount of sleep requirement depends on their genetics with the vast majority needing around seven to eight hours sleep. Very small i.e. 0.01% need as little as 4 hours; equally, there are people who need as much as 12 hours. Good Sleep is needed for brain detoxification, conservation of energy & food, tissue restoration, reorganization of learning pathways. It reduces stress and makes you more alert.
Young children require 10-12 hours sleep because an important human growth hormone production is regulated during sleep as per Dr. Namboodary, Psychiatrist. Dr. Stanley, from the University of Surrey who is in the field of sleep research for 34 years refuses the claims that lack of sleep is a passport to success. Chronic lack of sleep increases the risk of development of obesity (sleep deprived persons consume more calories the following day), diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, young develop high BP, arthritis, decreased fertility and immune function, mental illness irrational thinking, emotional instability. Sleep disturbance impairs communication ability like slurred speech and good judgment. Loss of sleep increases toxic substances in body such as interleukin-6.& C-reactive proteins that can cause cancer. An extra hour of sleep is better than an hour of gym.
Sleep HygieneMaintain regular sleep-awake schedule every day, even on the weekend. Reschedule all leisure or relaxation activities so that they do not interfere with sleep timing. Try sleep at the same time, irrespective of insomnia. If you can not go to sleep within 30 minutes or so get up and read something relaxing for some minutes. Regular exercise schedule helps improve the quality of sleep but do it 2 hours before sleep and not at or near the bed. Yoga and meditation help in sleep. Bath in warm water can relax and soothe.
FoodLight meal at dinner should be taken 3 hours before bed. Bananas have a great deal of potassium, which acts as a muscle relaxant, preparing the body for sleep, it also contains tryptophan, which turns into melatonin – the hormone that produces sleepiness. Bananas have carbs which can make you sleepy as well. A cup of curd or a glass of milk at bedtime is also good as they also contain tryptophan.
DrinksNo coffee before sleep because it contains caffeine and affects sleep. Alcohol may make you drowsy and may help you fall sleep but when it wears off several hours later, it can cause you to wake-up. Moreover, there is no deep sleep with alcohol. So avoid it just before going to bed.
How to sleep better
- Make sure you wind down and put the day to bed! One should not take problems of the day into night.
- Do not do anything related to work at least couple of hours before the bed.
- Write a to-do list before you go to bed.
- Keep pen and paper at your bed-side at night so that you can jot down any worries or ideas that come to mind.
- Do not take your mobile/laptop into your bedroom – they signal your brain to stay awake. Watching TV just prior to bed is not a relaxing way to go to sleep.
- If you listen to music – make sure that it is instrumental only, lyrics can stimulate your mind & make it difficult.
- Use white noise machine or ear plugs if a quiet room is not possible.
- Try reading enjoyable short things for few minutes once you get in bed.
- The bedroom should be kept as a sanctuary for sleep – dark, quiet and cool. Keep a window open.
- When you wake up, get up – do not hit the snooze button.
NappingDr. Deborch J Mc Cormick Professor, Northern Arizona University says: Napping is also good for the brain and can hep alleviate stress.
Some organization feels that one of the pain points of the employees is a lack of sleep and may impact their performance. Some employers therefore advocate power-napping for their employee permitting them to take 20 minutes nap each day to clear heads and increase the productivity in afternoon. Noon to 2 PM is a good time for a nap and does not interrupt your regular sleep pattern. Naps taken too later after 3 PM can alter night time sleep habits.