How sleep is defined?
Sleep is one of the nature’s most precious gifts. Sleep is a form of gentle restorer of energy to the tired nerves and exhausted cells helping them to recuperate and thus serves a way of recovery from the stresses of normal working life. Sleep is a great source in building up a refreshing and restful way of life. Sleep means a form of cessation of activity though not completely but at a much lower level. The muscle relaxes and the heart slows down its activity. Similarly, there is a fall in pulse rate and blood pressure.
What is healthy sleep?
We spend more or less 33 per cent of our life asleep. Sleep makes body repairing process smooth. Healthy sleep promotes learning and memory while lack of sleep impacts longevity and deteriorates health. Sound Sleep enhances positive energy, good for all the vital organs such as heart, brain, lungs, liver, etc. Sound sleep acts like as a catalyst for mood elevator, stress buster and longevity. Sound sleep is good for sleep disorders, sleep problems and insomnia as well as apnea related maladies. There are many tips for sound sleep. One of the important ways for healthy sleep is music therapy that helps to soothe your nerves, body and mind. Doing meditation and relaxation yogasanas too help to improve healthy sleep. Following Ayurvedic diets and ayurvedic tips are also beneficial in overcoming sleep apnea. However, using sleeping pills or tranquilizers are dangerous and fatal. Sleep induced by a pill is never refreshing.
How much sleep you need?
Healthy sleep is refreshing and energizing and also provides freshness to the mind and body. Neither too little nor too much of sleep is desirable since both may prove harmful, too little producing lack of energy and too much dulling the mental faculties. So, have regular hours of sleep depending on age, needs and requirements. Though eight hours of sleep is desirable and often recommended but many people can do with less and still feel refreshed. Similarly, women will require more sleep and the manual workers sleep more than the brain workers. A fat person may require less amount of sleep say about 7 hours of sleep while a thin lean man requires about 8-9 hours of sleep. Though the individual variations are there but on an average a period of about 6 to 8 hours of sleep is sufficient for an average adult.
How much sleep need by kids?
Sleep requirement vary with age. The ability to sleep decreases with age through the need of sleep remains. A new baby may enjoy 22 hours of sleep out of 24 hours but the child grows up the requirement also decreases and by the time the child is 12 years old it may be only 10 hours. These sleeping hours are extremely important for the overall development of the child.
Amount of sleep
The amount of sleep varies with age, occupation and habit. Babies ought to have 14 hours sleep every day until they are two and then 12 hours sleep will suffice. School children need 10 hours sleep. Grown-ups should have eight hours sleep. Women need 7 hours sleep and men 6 hours sleep. Old people require more. Weak, debilitated and sick persons require more sleep and repose than healthy persons. Persons who do brain work are in need of more sleep and rest than those who do physical labour.
How to sleep?
- While going to sleep, closes your eyelid first. The brain doesn’t receive any message or impression from them. The senses of taste and smell then go and your ears fall asleep. Last of all, the skin ceases to feel touch. The whole body is asleep.
- Don’t cover your head during sleep. It is quite unhygienic. You will inhale again the foul air exhaled by the lungs. Two people should not sleep together for this reason.
- Lamps, candles, charcoal fires vitiate the air and should not be kept burning in bed room. Cooking shouldn’t be done in bed room.
- Don’t go to sleep immediately after taking a heavy meal. A full of stomach interfere with free action of the heart.
- The use of drugs to induce sleep should be strictly avoided.
- Sleep on the left side so that the Pingala or Surya Nadi (Solar Nadi) may work efficiently and digest the food. This is the practice of Yogic students.
- Don’t take any food late at night. Late dinner makes the brain work and disturb sleep. The brain is called upon to work the digestive organs vigorously while it should be sleeping restfully.
Different stages of sleep
The different terminologies are used to explain the various stages of sleep
- On the basis of Depth, which has two stages- Light and Deep
- On the basis of EEG (Electro-Enchephalography) characteristic- Delta waves and Synchronization
- On the basis of physiological characteristics-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement)
- On the basis of presumed anatomic level-Pontine, Mesencephalic, Rhombencephalic and Rolandic
What are sleeping problems?
The common sleep disorders are
- Sleep apnea
- Pavor nocturnes
- Nocturnal Enuresis
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Periodic limb movement disorder
- Sleep deprivation
- Inability to sleep at desired time
- Lack or disturb sleep at night
- Abnormal movement or behaviour during sleep
- Excessive day time sleep.
What are the causes of Insomnia?
Sleep a gentle restorer of energy to the tired body but there are many factors that lead to sleep disturbances. Some of the important sleeplessness factors are being given here.
- Improper environment
- Ill ventilated or stuffy room
- Too much noise or light
- Too much cold
- Bad food & Heavy foods
- Bad Digestion
- Irregular hours of sleep
- Organic ailments
- Excessive tiredness
- Cary over day’s tension to bed
- Office and home worries
- Unfounded fears
- Pent up feelings of frustration
- Resentment and anxiety
- Excessive use of tea or coffee
- Modern lifestyle: use of mobile phone, watching computer and television over long period at night, irregular sleep patterns and working in shifts.
- Addictions and drug abuse
- Pathological conditions such as thyrotoxicosis, nocturnal myoclonus, chronic pain, pruritus conditions.
- Psychiatric disturbances such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, etc.
- Excessive intake of spicy and fatty foods
- Deficiency of certain (vitamin B3, B5, B9, B12, and vitamin D) and minerals (iron, magnesium and copper)
Why sleep is required?
Sleep is controlled by two centres. One centre which is located in the anterior part of hypothalamus is the sleep centre while the centre is situated in the posterior part controls the wakefulness. Thus sleep can be turned on and off by the stimulation of these centres. One can live without food for a couple of days but not without sleep. Sleep loss has negative impact on health and individual productivity. When the person is without sleep, he/she experiences irritability, stressed and desperate. Lack of sleep produce difficulty in judgement; the person’s action becomes erratic and there is increased incidence of lapses of attention. Sleep loss changes the pattern of hormonal secretions. There are visual illusions, hallucinations and disorientation of thoughts. A person becomes inconsistent in his abilities and mental faculties.
Sleep disorder consequences
Anybody who has not had a healthy sleep always present a haggard look with lack of concentration and poor judgement along with lower standards of work. Night workers efficiency is comparably lower and has more psychological disturbances than day time workers. Waking for long hours, the mind gets fogged up and mental faculties are at the lowest ebb. Chronic sleep loss makes the person confused and disoriented. There is a constant burning or itching in the eyes, blurred vision and heaviness in head. The mental function is slowed and errors in speech and thought. Loss of memory is very much there.
What are insomnia health problems?
Insomnia is a drain in life’s vitality, health and carries over body toxins while sleep aids in banishing fatigue and restoring normal function to your body systems. Insomnia is a necessary evil of healthy life on the other hand sleep is the assurance for a good life. Insomnia may be delay in falling asleep. Old people suffer from a form of insomnia when they get intermittent periods of restless sleep at night. Using drugs in Insomnia is not the solution. One cannot deny the fact that there is no comparison to a natural sleep because the sleeping pills produce a form of unnatural sleep by reduction in the REM phase. There is not only diminution in mental faculties but a form of hangover on getting up. Sometimes mental sharpness falls and in people taking over doses disorientation, confusion and even poor judgement may result. So it is better to achieve in a natural way.
Best tips for sleeping
- Having proper and congenial surroundings are good sleep.
- Life’s positive approach is essential for adequate sleep.
- Keep the tensions, anxieties and pin pricks of the working hours off your night schedule. So, relax your mind and body and surrender to the bliss of sleep.
- If you are not feeling sleepy, don’t fight with you pillows. Switch on to soft & soothing music or your favourite reading.
- The best sleep comes before mid night. Sleep before midnight is more refreshing than afterwards. There is always a sleeping point for every person and if he or she misses that, sleep becomes difficult to come by.
- Avoid taking a nap in the afternoon as these can keep you awake for sometimes at night.
- A darkened, will ventilated room which is neither too warm not too cold is ideal. A room where cool fresh air ventilates is ideal for sleeping at night. Total Darkness induces a peaceful sleep.
- The evening food shouldn’t be heavy and before 8 PM followed by light walk which is very exhilarating. Hunger can also disturb sleep so avoid having either too much or too little of food.
- A warm cup of milk with cocoa is welcome drink at bed time.
- Warm bath, a brisk rub, Pranayama, deep breathing, stretching exercises is good for blissful sleep.
- Sleep bed should be neither tool soft or too hard. High pillows should be avoided since they often put strain on neck muscles.
- Wear light and loose cloth as the tight cloth interfere with body’s natural mechanisms, thus disturb sleep.
- Physical active life is good for sound sleep.
- Do not exert yourself overtired with the notion of inducing sleep.
- Try to let the mind be free of all worries and tensions.
- Do regular Yoga and Mediation (Dhyan) in achieving a good sleep.
- Try to forget yourself
- Practice of simple asanas like pawanmuktasana series and relaxation and meditative asanas, slow Surya Namaskar, helps in various metabolic process and influences sound sleep.
- Practice of Bhramari and Ujjai pranayama is good for Sleep.
- Savasana is extremely beneficial for sleep.
- Intake of balanced and nutritious diet can enhance good health and sound sleep.
- Hot foot bath for 15 minutes have influence on cerebro-vascular circulation. So it helps to provide relaxed mental state and enhances the natural sleep.
14 Best importance of sleep
Sleep has numerous advantages because a good sleep not only relaxes and refreshes the body & mind but also keeps many diseases at bay.
- Measure sleep not by hours but by relaxation.
- Sleep is Nature’s Sweet Restorer.
- Sleep is really rest of the brain.
- Sleep gives this relaxation to muscles, limbs, brain and nerves
- The most important factor for keeping of health in old age is sleep.
- Sleep is the most perfect form of rest.
- Sleep helps the brain to commit new information and facilitate memory consolidation.
- Proper sleep is essential for appropriate body weight while chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by altering nutrition and hormonal mechanism.
- Lack of sleep can contribute to health problems such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, etc.
- Sleep helps our body to restore energy and provide us better wakefulness and lateness for forth coming day.
- Adequate sleep is associated with good health status and high frequency adoption of health related behaviours.
- Sleep has great influence on wound healing. Clinical study on patient with post surgical abdominal hysterectomy revealed that sleep after first night of surgery is an important factor for recovery.
- Many studies concluded that sleep influences immune system and overall health.
- Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience inability to concentrate and moodiness.