Published On: Sat, Oct 24th, 2015

A SOLUTION FOR PEACEFUL SLEEP

Sleep is essential as much as you need to breathe and eat. While you’re sleeping, your body is busy tending to your physical and mental health and getting you ready for another day. Sleep deprivation is dangerous to our mental and physical health and can dramatically lower our quality of life. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your awake life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort! Even minimal sleep loss takes a toll on your mood, energy, and ability to handle stress.

Average sleep required for an adults between 18-64 years is 7-9 hours( as per national sleep foundation). But the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. In today’s fast-paced and competitive society, six or six and half hours of sleep may sound pretty good. In reality, its chronic sleep deprivation.

Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Serious Health Problems like

Lack of sleep can double the risk of death especially  from cardiovascular diseases. In children and adolescents, hormones that promote growth are released during sleep that help build muscle mass, and repairs cells and tissues. Sleep is vital to development during puberty.

Central Nervous System

Sleep is necessary to keep the CNS functioning properly. During sleep, the brain rests busy neurons and forms new pathways so that it can start new functions in the morning.. Sleep deprivation leaves the brain exhausted, producing sleepiness.. It interferes with our ability to concentrate and learn new things. It negatively impacts both short-term and long-term memory. It gets in the way of our decision-making process and stifles creativity. Our emotions are also affected, making us more likely to have a short temper and mood swings. If sleep deprivation continues long enough, it increased risk of hallucinations, mania, impulsive behavior, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts.

A side effect of sleep deprivation is micro sleep where we  sleep for only a few seconds or a few minutes, but we don’t realize it. Micro sleep can get out of our control and can be extremely dangerous if we are driving.

Brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for consolidating memory. The ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored. Sharp wave ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep.

Immune System

During sleep our immune system produces protective cytokines and infection-fighting antibodies and cells.. These cytokines and other protective substances give the immune system more energy to defend against illness. Long-term sleep deprivation raises our risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and can prolong time to recover from many illness.

Respiratory System

Sleep deprivation can weaken our immune system, hence we are  more vulnerable to respiratory problems like the common cold and influenza. Moreover a good sleep can help cure respiratory problems.

For men with obstructive sleep apnea secreted abnormally low levels of testosterone during the night.

Digestive System

 Sleep deprivation is one of the risk factors for obesity. It increases production of the stress hormone cortisol. Lack of sleep lowers level of a hormone called leptin, which tells our brain that we had enough to eat and raises levels of a biochemical called ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. Sleep deprivation prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin promoting fat storage and increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.

Cardiovascular System

Sleep plays a vital role in our body’s ability to heal and repair the blood vessels and heart. Thus deprival increases risk of  high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Inadequate sleep accelerates aging.

By releasing more of the stress hormone cortisol, it can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Most people have experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. But it turns out that chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes.

Lack of Sleep Kills Sex Drive

Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame.

Sleeplessness  causes depression

The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strongest link to depression. In fact, insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression

 Myths regarding sleep

 Myth 1: Getting just one hour less sleep per night won’t affect your daytime functioning

Myth 2: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules

Myth 3: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue

Myth 4: You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends.

Myth 5- More intelligent people sleep less.

The sleep cycle-

  1. Non-REM (NREM) sleepconsists of three stages of sleep, each deeper than the last.

 

  • Stage N1 (Transition to sleep)– This stage lasts about five minutes. Your eyes move slowly under the eyelids, muscle activity slows down, and you are easily awakened.
  • Stage N2 (Light sleep)– This is the first stage of true sleep, lasting from 10 to 25 minutes. Your eye movement stops, heart rate slows, and body temperature decreases.
  • Stage N3 (Deep sleep)– You’re difficult to awaken, and if you are awakened, you do not adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes. In this deepest stage of sleep, your brain waves are extremely slow. Blood flow is directed away from your brain and towards your muscles, restoring physical energy

B.REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is when you do most active dreaming. Your eyes actually move back and forth during this stage, which is why it is called Rapid Eye Movement sleep. You enter REM sleep 70 to 90 minutes after falling asleep

The stages of REM and non-REM sleep form a complete sleep cycle. Each cycle typically lasts about 90 minutes and repeats four to six times over the course of a night. Deep sleep (Stage N3) and REM sleep are particularly important.

Our 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, otherwise known as your biological clock or circadian rhythm, is regulated by processes in the brain that respond to how long we have been awake and the changes between light and dark. At night, our body responds to the loss of daylight by producing melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. During the day, sunlight triggers the brain to inhibit melatonin production so we feel awake and alert.

Our internal clock can be disrupted by factors such as nightshift work, traveling across time zones, or irregular sleeping patterns—leaving us feeling groggy, disoriented, and sleepy at inconvenient times. The production of melatonin can also be thrown off when we are deprived of sunlight during the day or exposed to too much artificial light at night—especially the light from electronic devices, including TVs, computers, tables, and mobile phones.

Seven tips to improve sleep

1.Stick to a sleep schedule.

2,Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol should be taken with caution. Take only adequate water before sleep.

  1. Create a bedtime ritual like taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music — preferably with the lights dimmed. Relaxing activitieslike alpha meditation is useful.
  2. Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. The mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep
  3. Limit daytime naps. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the mid afternoon.
  4. Regular physical activity can promote better sleep
  5. Consider healthy ways to manage stressDr Arun Oommen

     

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A SOLUTION FOR PEACEFUL SLEEP