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Sleep- an essential ingredient for a healthy mind body, beauty & soul !! “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together “ - Thomas Dekkar Why do we sleep? Who taught us to sleep? How do babies know how to sleep the moment they land on Earth? Ever thought what would happen if no one would ever sleep on Earth? Did these questions ever puzzled your mind? Wonder why sleep is so important for all living beings? Right from their birth, all living beings are programmed for their survival. Thus, the newborns only know sucking(to fill their tiny tummies), breathing and excretion. Then what do they need sleep for? Researchers say that sleep is essential for processing and storage of all the important activities of the day, rejuvenation of mind, strengthening of muscles, growth and repair of body tissues etc. In short, apart from balanced diet and exercise, sleep is also a critical ingredient for a healthy and radiant beautiful body. Then why do we fight with our natural system by disturbing our daily routine? Perhaps, with our busy schedules and work, our priorities have changed but we all know that any disruption caused in our natural cycles forces our poor bodies to behave badly. Thus, in this 2 part series, we have tried to gather as much information as one needs to know to understand the relevance of sleep for a happy and “less stressful” day. While the first part of this blog post tells you- - The importance of sleep and the factors affecting it, and - The second part will round up the ways to kiss those sleepless nights goodbye! Why is sleep so important? Research shows that the sleeping hours of human beings vary depending on the age and individuals. Infants need approximately 17 hours of sleep which slowly reduces as they grow up. For an adult, ideal sleeping hours are considered to be 7-8 hours every night. Adequate sleep helps in good functioning of all vital functions of the body and help natural daily detox. It helps in improving our immunity and smooth functioning of our cognitive processes. It helps to refresh and restore body functions to counteract on from various illnesses and prevents from hazardous diseases like cardiac arrest, diabetes, blood pressure issues etc. Adequate sleep helps to stay fresh, healthy, alert, and conscious, more prompt, aware and active. It helps to restore memory, information and stabilizes all the crucial body systems like the nervous system, muscular system, skeleton system etc. It helps to reduce anxiety at a greater level. In a nutshell, a good night’s sleep recharges our brain and body, thus keeping us robust, and hearty and body cells bouncing with life and energy. What really is affecting people’s sleep these days? Even without having a real pathological sleep problem, a lot of people experience troubled sleep. What could be the reason? Experts say that there are a number of factors affecting our sleep that need not be the sleep disorders such as: 1. Diet: Yes, diet plays an important role in balancing the quantity and quality of sleep. One of the reviews in 2016 indicated that a high carbohydrate diet promoted shorter onset to sleep and longer duration of sleep than a high fat diet. It is advised to eat less carbohydrate and fatty food at the end of the day before going to bed. A well-balanced diet containing fresh fruits and vegetables, low fatty food, and a reasonable amount of carbohydrates may be a good option for individuals suffering from sleep deprivation. Also, sufficient gap between last meal of the day and hitting the bed also helps in getting a good quality sleep. A guidance under Proefssional Dietician can help you show the right path and way. 2. Late caffeine intake: Usually, if taken in the later part of the day, caffeine can keep you up till late. 3. Irregular sleep schedule: Ever heard of circadian rhythms or sleep/wake cycles? Studies suggest that if we wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, then our body gets accustomed to the schedule and after a few days of practice, it starts shutting itself down automatically at the same time daily. So, if your sleep times vary significantly every day, then your body’s clock is really having a hard time adjusting and this may be a reason for a bad sleep quality. 4. Lack of activity: A lethargic day can definitely offer plenty of yawns but does not guarantee a good night’s sleep. Inactivity does not exhaust the body enough to need a nice shutdown. 5. Too much screen time: During ancient times, sleeping hours were decided depending on sunrise and sunset. The natural cycle of sleeping was set by natural light sources. Production of the hormone called Melatonin helps to fall asleep at night. This hormone gets activated by darkness and prepares the body for a good sleep. But today because of usage of artificial light sources at night viz. night lamps, iPads or tablets, mobile screens, computer screens etc., production of melatonin is suppressed and as a result, it affects the sleep pattern and leads to sleep deprivation. These days, we are so much under the spell of these gadgets and the apps they offer, that many people find it difficult to stay away from it even during nights. The habit of checking the notifications for emails/ messages keeps their mind engaged all night. This behavior eventually disturbs the natural bodily processes and leads to sleep deprivation, cognitive issues, headaches, dizziness, fatigue etc.. 6. Stress and anxiety: A big factor of sleeplessness is the inevitable stress that has taken a toll over our lives these days. Surely, can’t be completely cut-off but if tried, can be reduced to an extent. Troubled relationships on daily basis land up you in your brain and mind struggling to solve the quiz and being engaged all time in this constant stress and taking away the natural smile from your face. A session with professionally qualified psychologist, hypnotherapist or marriage councellor can help with it. 7. Uncomfortable bedding: Could be a reason of a disturbed sleep for some, especially for those with the “Princess and the Pea Syndrome”. Using the mattresses and pillows beyond their life expectancy makes them less friendly and sometimes hurting too. What are the common sleep disorders? If you think you are not getting a good night’s sleep even after doing everything correctly, then it is always advised to get checked by a medical professional or a sleep expert regarding any kind of sleep disorder. A combined effort with Dietician and Physchologist and Hypnotheraist will help more to give the healing touch. Some common sleep disorders are: • Dyssomnias: it is a broad category of sleep disorders involving difficulty falling or remaining asleep, due to which the person may experience excessive sleepiness throughout the day. This gives a feeling of being “less rested” and therefore decreases the performance. • Parasomnias: It is an umbrella term for all the abnormal things that can happen to people while they sleep like sleepwalking, sleep talking, sleep paralysis, nightmares, sleep related eating disorders, sleep aggression, sexsomnia etc. People tend to do physical movements during dreaming, thus injuring self or their bed partners. • Circadian rhythm sleep disorders: The inability to go to sleep and awaken at normal sleep times come under this category. Though, the quality of sleep is not affected. How your sleeping positions affect your body? The greeting of “Good Night” acts as multiplier to positivity and makes everybody look forward to a relaxing and really good sleep after the hectic day. Some researchers say that your sleeping positions can decide on your peaceful and healthy sleep. Few people may feel comfortable sleeping on their stomach or back while others may like to slumber on either side of their body. Sleeping on the back is considered to be the healthiest sleeping position. It gives proper positioning to all the vital organs of the body to function in a right way without putting much pressure on any specific organ while sleeping. Though it may be difficult for many people to sleep on back, they can always opt for sleeping sideways which is considered to be still better than sleeping on stomach. Sleeping sideways is an excellent option for the people suffering from snoring habit. It helps to keep air flow smooth through airways. Researchers suggest that people who feel comfortable sleeping sideways should consider sleeping on left side of their body. This position helps with good heart pumping and blood flow in the body. Sleeping on stomach is considered to be a bad pattern of sleeping as it disturbs the body posture especially spine. This position generally creates lower back pain to many people. Now, if you are convinced about the seriousness of a good night’s sleep and really want to justify those pyjamas and your comfy & cushy bed, click on the link below!! So, Folks take away message is "Refine your habits and sleep like a baby" !!! I hope you liked and learned from this Sleep series of blog, part-1. Stay tuned to watch out part -2 of this Sleep series of blog. We are happy to address any Qs you may have :) Contributing Authors :- Priyanka Khandelwal Professional Nutritionist/ Dietician Diet Planet - The Online Diet Clinic web: www.dietplanet.co.in Call & whats app: +91-9871658530 Charu Agarwal Consultant Psychologist & Clinical Hypnotherapist (California Hypnosis Institute, USA) Call & whats app: +91-9717193558 Pooja Kolambe Freelance Councellor, Educational Psychologist and, access bars practitioner Whats app - +91-8886347733
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