A healthy body and energetic mind require the 3 most easily available inputs. The most straight forward tips for a healthy lifestyle are balanced diets, exercising, and sound sleep. When you have a lot on your plate, sleep is the first one to be sacrificed.
Doctors recommend their patients to have balanced diets and exercise for at least 15 to 45 minutes a day to recover fast. However, despite following these measures and other healthy lifestyle changes, many people complain of tiredness and constant stress. Many cannot manage weight and don’t have the energy to be cheerful with their kids and family. The missing piece in this 3-legged stool is sleep.
Sleep, scientists have long-established, rejuvenates the body, results in better mental health and cognitive functions, and regulates mood. Adequate sleep is critical for sustaining healthy energy levels for the day. So, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, sleep is essential and crucial. Find the best memory foam mattress in India
Sleep Has Stages!
Researchers state that sleep is a complicated and active brain process with a predictable cycle:
- Stage I: Within minutes of falling asleep, the brain produces alpha and theta waves, and the eye movements slow down. This light stage of sleep may last up to seven minutes.
- Stage II: During this stage lasting for 15-30 minutes, the brain increases the frequency of the brain waves produced called sleep spindles. A power nap comprises of phases I and II.
- Stages III: It is called early deep sleep, where the brain produces slower delta waves. There is no eye movement or muscle activity, and the body becomes less responsive to outside stimuli.
- Stage IV: The brain produces even more delta waves to take you into an even deeper and restorative sleep stage. During this stage, the body rebuilds tissues, repairs muscles, quickens growth and development, boosts immune functions, and builds up energy.
- Rapid Eye Movement Stage: There can be multiple REM episodes during a single night’s sleep, and each time it can last up to an hour. The brain becomes more active, and you see dreams, heart rate, and blood pressure may increase, and breathing may become fast, shallow, and irregular. REM sleep helps in improving cognitive and memory functions.
The sleep cycle and needs for people in different age groups and other current health will be different. The following is an indicative table showing sleep requirements for other age groups:
|Age Group in Years||Recommended Sleep Time in Hours|
What Sleep Deprivation Can Cause:
Sleep deprivation can be due to many reasons, avoidable or unavoidable, controllable, or uncontrollable. Whatever the reasons are, it can wreak havoc to our systems – mental, physical, and emotional – in the short-term and long-term. Some of these damages may be irreversible too.
- It increases the “urge” to eat more, resulting in late-night munching of junk food
- It can reduce the self-control over smaller things in the short-term (like taking that one extra scoop of ice-cream) and gradually over bigger things too (driving too fast in a slow lane).
- It increases the risks of overeating and sleeping over a too-full stomach, causing indigestion, more loss of sleep, gastric problems, and even obesity and diabetes.
- It causes muscle loss in the middle age group resulting in more tiredness and physical stress.
- It results in less secretion of “happy” and “energy” hormones and more secretion of “stress” and “anxiety” hormones
- It increases the chances of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension very significantly.
- It can increase the risk of depression and other mental disorders.
How does a Good Night’s Sleep Will help in Healthy Lifestyle?
For Healthy lifestyle, Sleep is important because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Getting adequate rest may also help prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration.
A good night’s sleep will:
- improve your concentration and productivity
- improve your problem-solving skills, memory, and creativity
- help your body to build up the immune system by producing T-cells
- increase your physical performance levels by repairing tissues and strengthening muscles
- help your young ones grow faster and more
- support your metabolism and thereby reducing chances of erratic bowels
- help you recover from illness and diseases – bacterial, viral, and other infections
- help you control the urges to intake addictive substances including caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
How to Have a Sound Sleep?
Our bodies have natural circadian rhythm or sleep/wake cycle or body clock. This internal system regulates sleepiness over 24 hours, controlled by an area of the brain that responds to light. The circadian rhythm causes your degree of wakefulness to go in cycles throughout the day and may change as you age. The Sunlight or even artificial lights activate the circadian rhythms.
- Listen to Your Body Clock: If you follow your body’s instincts, your circadian rhythm will stay balanced. An abrupt change in sleep schedule, however, can disrupt your body clock. Just like an alarm clock, you can regulate your body to sleep at certain times of the day and be wide awake at others. The routine will take time to kick in a few days.
- Go for Morning Walks: The morning Sunlight is not only good for an energy and immunity boost; it also helps your body reset its circadian rhythm. A quick stroll outdoors will signal your brain that it is time to be alert and awake.
- Limit Evening Screen-time: Bright screen lights – from TV, laptops, and Cellphones – in the evening hours can give confusing signals to your brains and throw off your body clock. The artificial blue light from laptops, tablets, and smartphones makes it worse. So, avoid gadgets at least an hour or two before bedtime. Instead, read books or play music.
- Diet Management: The old saying “Breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; dinner like a pauper” is the best way to sum it up. Stay away from any fatty foods with too many spices or peppers before you go to sleep. These and protein-rich diets will cause acidity and gas in the stomach, causing acid reflux or stomach-aches. It always better to have your meals at least a couple of hours before going to sleep.
- Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine: Stimulants and addictive substances give “high” to your brain. Caffeine is the most popular among them and is readily available in households as coffee, chocolates, candies, ice-creams, etc. These stimulants dupe your brain into thinking it is in control and thereby depriving you of sleep.
- Exercise Regularly: Upon doing exercise, your body releases cortisol and other hormones. These hormones keep you alert and awake during the day, and by the end of it, they start to wear off, making you feel tired. With heightened cortisol levels, you don’t sleep during the day, so your body will automatically DEMAND sleep during the night time. However, if you work out too close to your bedtime, it can also have a reverse effect.
- Find Suitable Mattress: Your mattress can control the quality and quantity of sleep. The stiffness of the mattress, its ability to adjust to body shape, its texture is essential factors. A right mattress distributes your body weight evenly, so you avoid stiffness, pains, or injuries. The mattress must be cosy and comfortable.
Bedroom Lights and Ventilation: Your bedroom might not be conducive to sleep and may contribute to your unsound sleep. There may be noises, lights from other rooms or outdoors, improper ventilation are some of the reasons to make a bedroom unfit for proper sleep.
An orthopedic pillow can improve the sleeping ability of an individual because of the comfort it provides. It actually cradles the neck and keeps the head in a neutral position; compared to regular pillows which give elevation to the neck from the shoulder and can result in a stiff neck the next morning. Nothing can help a person have a good night sleep more than having a very comfortable pillow for the head to rest on.