Sleep your way to Good Health

Team Udayavani, Sep 18, 2019, 5:22 PM IST

Sleep – The most often deprived state for many of us today. Work, stress and the increased screen time has decreased our average sleeping time. Sleeplessness can play havoc on our physical and mental health and it is needless to say that tiredness, fatigue, irritability and mood swings follow the day after a sleepless night.

So what does sleep do to your body?

Sleep is the very foundation of good health.  It is more than just resting time for your body and mind. Your body works hard when you sleep, it cleans away harmful waste produced by the brain and helps in rebuilding worn-out muscles.  While your body is busy doing this during sleep, your mind processes important information and events that occurred during the day and commits them to your memory.  Sleep most importantly regulates your emotions. One sleepless night, and there is a 60% increase in your emotions towards negative feelings.

Sleep regulates the body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm.  Your body’s internal clock runs on a 24-hour schedule regulating metabolism, immune functions when you sleep or wake up. Once you upset this rhythm with lesser sleep, your bodily functions are obstructed leading to changes in metabolism which eventually leads to weight gain, obesity, and host of other health issues like fatigue, and frequent colds.

Poor sleep has a severe effect on your mental health. Not getting enough sleep causes more harm than just tiredness, a sleep-deprived person may be incapable of making the right decisions or can decide based on emotions and not objectives. Sleeplessness interferes in cognitive performance. Poor sleep also makes one less productive. Poor sleep is also associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Poor sleep is a big reason for people to binge or overeat. Weight gain becomes a way of life to obesity the number one reason for diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and hypertension. This, in turn, increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other coronary heart diseases.

Tips to get some goodnight’s sleep:

Stay on schedule: Ensure you wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Have your meals at the same time every day. This way your body’s internal clock will keep working just fine and keeps your metabolism in good shape.

Create a calming bedtime routine: Ensure you do things that relax you before going to bed. Like a hot shower, drinking some warm milk, or reading a book, etc.,

Sleep in a comfortable environment:  Too much light, too humid or too much ac may not be the right environment for you to sleep. So just adjust your bedroom environment accordingly.

Cut down screen time and eat early: These two very important things play a huge role in helping you get the sleep you need. More screen time, especially during bedtime, keeps you more awake. And eat 2-3 hours before you sleep.

Exercise during the Day: Physical activity and exercise can really give you a goodnight’s sleep. Your body would get accustomed to this act and would trigger the sleep hormone to ensure you get a goodnight’s sleep so that you can go about the exercise the next day.

Sleep is an incredibly important part of life and missing out on those crucial 6-8 hours of sleep as an adult can have serious repercussions on your mental and physical health.  Practising yoga, meditation or mindfulness is also a great way to crack in some good hours of sleep at night. So when tired, Sleep. Confused? Sleep. Happy? Sleep. Worried? Sleep. Just sleep your way good health. Sometimes, there’s no better cure than a goodnight’s sleep.

By : Dr Sudhir BS, MBBS, DNB INTERNAL MEDICINE.
CLUMAX MEDALL, Bengaluru

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