Nurture Good Sleep Habits to Stay Healthy & Happy
21-07-2017 | Posted By: Chhavi | 1613 View(s)
Have you ever woken up after a bad night sleep, feeling irritated and easily confused? Have you ever felt that you are unable to concentrate on your work after having a bad night sleep? Well, if you have felt any such discomfort due to lack of adequate sleep- it is very normal. Sleep is extremely important for our overall health. Everyone must inculcate good sleep habits so that they can be happy, cheerful and healthy always.
What is Sleep?
Sleep is a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the body’s nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.
Broadly, sleep can be divided into two types: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) & Non-REM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement).
The Stages of Sleep
When we sleep, our body performs many functions, and a lot happens in our body. Our sleep occurs in two cycles: REM & Non-REM.
The cycle of sleep starts with the non-REM sleep which is followed by a shorter period of REM sleep, and then the sleep cycle starts again.
During REM sleep, the eyes move quickly in different directions, and this does not happen during non-REM sleep. Typically, dreams also occur during REM sleep.
Phases of Non-REM Sleep
Non-REM sleep occurs in three phases and each stage last from 5 to 15 minutes. We all go through all these three phases before reaching REM sleep.
Stage 1: In the first stage of the Non-REM sleep, the eyes are closed; however, it is easy to wake anyone up. This phase can last for 5 to 10 minutes.
Stage 2: During this stage, people are in light sleep. Their heart rate slows down, and the body temperature drops. In this stage, the body gets ready for deep sleep.
Stage 3: This is the third and the last stage of the Non-REM sleep and is also called as the deep sleep stage. In this stage, it is very difficult to wake anyone up, and if someone wakes them up, they would feel disoriented for a few minutes.
During the deep stages of the NREM sleep, the body does many functions such as it builds bone and muscles, repairs and re-grows tissues, and strengthens the immune system.
The Phenomenon of REM Sleep
REM sleep usually occurs 90 minutes after we fall asleep. The initial period of REM generally lasts 10 minutes. After that, the REM stages get longer, and the final one may also last up to an hour. Our brain is active during REM sleep which is why we can have intense dreams during this cycle of sleep.
Some Amazing Health Benefits of Sleep
Sleep relaxes our mind and our body. The many benefits of good sleep are:
1. It Improves Memory & Concentration
One can blame their sleep loss if they tend to forget everything. Researchers have shown that while we sleep, our brain process and consolidate the memories from the entire day. If one does not get enough sleep, those memories might not get stored in a correct manner and hence can be lost.
A study was published in the Journal Sleep which found that those who slept for less than 6 hours a night for two weeks scored far worse on memory tests than those who slept 8 hours.
Moreover, researchers also suggest that sleep lowers the chances of developing false memories. Those who get a good night sleep feel more relaxed the next day, and their mind is calm. A good sleep makes people feel fresh and energetic, and people do not feel exhausted which helps them in concentrating in the work they are doing. We must develop good sleep habits in order to boost our memory and concentration. Thus, get a healthy sleep to get a healthy mind.
2. It Relaxes Our Mood
It can’t be denied that we tend to feel happy and relaxed after getting a good night sleep. Sleep has also been linked to our mood. When someone is not able to sleep properly, they feel irritated and moody throughout the day. They are not able to concentrate properly, feel tired, exhausted and angry and are not also not able to control their negative emotions. So, to start a bright and cheerful day- get a peaceful sleep.
3. It helps in Maintaining a Healthy Weight
One of the major benefits of good sleep habits is that it helps in maintaining an ideal weight. Sleep loss can result in weight gain. It is because when someone is not able to get good sleep, they feel tired and thus do not have the energy to go for their jog or do any physical activity which in turns result in weight gain.
Another factor is that there is a hormone called leptin which plays a significant role in making us feel full. When people don’t get adequate sleep, their leptin levels drop. The results are that when people feel more tired, they also get hungrier and end up eating high-calories foods which lead to weight gain. Get good sleep every day to keep yourself healthy and fit.
4. It Improves Quality of Life
Good Sleep Habits helps in maintaining our overall health. A good night sleep helps in keeping various health diseases and illnesses at bay. Various studies have found a link between inadequate sleep and various serious health problems, such as Heart Disease, Diabetes, Obesity, Depression, etc.
Also, good sleep helps in relieving stress. Researchers have found that lack of proper sleep can lead to depression. Doctors say that proper sleep can help a moody person decrease their anxiety. People can get more emotional stability with good sleep. Thus, inculcate good sleep habits to be healthy- physically and mentally.
5. It Boosts Our Immune System
If you believe you can prevent the common cold by getting enough sleep- you are right! Lack of sleep can suppress our body’s immune system, which can make us more vulnerable to infections. A study was conducted in 2009, and the results showed that people who got less than 7 hours of sleep a night were almost three times as likely to get sick as the people who got at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Thus, everyone must sleep for at least 8 hours every day to strengthen the immune system.
Good Sleep Habits for getting a Sound Sleep
Good sleep is essential for a human being. When you wake up in the morning after a good sound sleep, it makes you completely refreshed and revitalised. Lack of sleeping causes irritation and annoyance, and you can take good care of your sleep by following these Good Sleep Habits :
1. Make a Routine
It is very crucial to sleep and wake up on time to if you want to experience the real benefits of good sleep. For those who are working, it becomes all the more difficult to follow a routine but then it pays to follow a definite routine-Difficult but possible with some determination.
2. Adopt ideal ways of Sleeping
Do not go to bed with a hangover of the undesirable things that happened during the day. Make certain that your mind is stress-free before you go to sleep. You can read funny jokes or watch a comedy show to make yourself light-hearted. Stressed mind brings negative thoughts and thus causes hindrance in sound sleep.
3. Read Books
Reading Books is one of the most efficient ways to get a good night sleep. Reading calms our mind and helps us to get relax. So, start reading your favourite book every night and get a peaceful sleep.
4. Brush up your teeth before going on the Bed
Never forget to clean your teeth before going to bed. When you brush up your teeth, it not only cleans your mouth but refreshes your whole throat and restores the breeziness in your heart.
Also Read: Tips for having Lifelong Healthy Teeth
5. Do not turn your bedroom into your Workstation
Bedrooms are for sleeping. If Good Sleep Habits are to be followed then Do not turn your bedroom into a workstation with computer, books or office files. Make it a place to relax and sleep and do not turn it into a mini workplace.
6. Take light food at dinner
Do not go to bed with a heavy dose of diet in your tummy. It will slow down your body’s metabolic functioning which consequently can cause complexities in your power sleep. So, it is essential for you to take light food at dinner before going to bed. You must not go to bed either hungry or stuffed as it can cause discomfort which will not allow you to sleep. Also, do not take caffeine products before going to bed as it can lead to sleep deprivation.
7. Take a stroll or do light exercise before going to the Bed
You can walk or do light exercises after dinner to make you feel good and gleeful. A walk or light exercising can help to prepare for a good night’s sleep.
8. Listen to Music
We all love listening to music. Most of us have the habit of listening to our favourite songs before sleeping, and those people will agree that it helps them to sleep better. So, put on your earplugs and listen to your favourite songs. It will help you to sleep better.
9. Sleep only if you are feeling sleepy
Do not rest on the bed just because of the routine or it’s time to sleep. Good Sleep habits mean that you should Sleep only when you feel sleepy. Do things which can make you go to sleep faster-Like watching television, Light music or reading a book.
10. You should get Comfortable
Lack of sleep is a problem which can also occur due to discomfort in your room or your clothes. You should sleep in rooms that are cool, dark and quiet. The bedding should be comfortable, and you should sleep with loose, comfortable clothes.
It is imperative to have a sound sleep at night in case you have difficulties in having a proper sleep do not hesitate to consult a Doctor.
Which is the Best Sleep Position for Your Health?
Do you snore while sleeping? Well, the reason may be your sleep position. Everyone has a different sleep posture; some sleep on their back, some on the side while others on their stomach. To choose the best sleep position is very difficult as every sleeping posture have their pros and cons.
Your sleeping style says a lot about your health. A good sleep posture prevents various health concerns such as snoring, wrinkles, muscle ache, back pain and neck pain.
Are you wondering which sleep position is best for your health? Here we have ranked sleep postures, from best to worst so that you can ensure that you have Good Sleep Habits
1. Sleeping on Your Back
Pros: Sleeping on your back prevents back and neck pain, reduces acid reflux, prevents breast problems and minimises wrinkles.
Cons: It leads to snoring and is an unsuitable sleep posture for those who have sleep apnea.
Sleeping on back pose is good for your spine and neck health. When you sleep on back, your back is straight which allows your head, neck and spine to rest in a neutral position. There is no extra pressure on these areas, and that is how sleeping on back prevents neck and back pain.Also, when we sleep on the back, our face is out in the air and does not touch any pillow or mattress which leads to fewer facial wrinkles.
When you sleep on the back, your head is elevated, and the stomach is below the oesophagus, which does not allow acid or food to come back up; thereby preventing acid reflux.
However, sleeping on the back can cause problems to those who have sleep apnea; a health condition in which a person’s breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. When we sleep on the back, gravity forces the base of our tongue to collapse into the airway, which can block the breathing tube, making it a dangerous position for those who suffer from sleep apnea. This position also makes the snoring severe.
The Perfect Pillow for Back Sleepers:
The pillow for back sleepers should be firm, soft which keeps the head and neck neutrally aligned.
2. Sleeping on your Side
Pros: Sleeping on your side prevents neck and back pain, reduces acid reflux and prevents snoring and is considered a good sleeping position during pregnancy.
Cons: It can cause wrinkles and breasts to sag.
This is the second-best position for sleeping as it keeps the spine elongated, thereby preventing acid reflux. Also, doctors encourage pregnant women to sleep on the left side during pregnancy as it improves blood circulation, which is beneficial to both the baby and the mother. However, when you sleep on your side your face pushes against the pillow which can cause wrinkles.
The Perfect Pillow for Side Sleepers:
Side sleepers should go for the pillows which are thick and firm and can help you keep your spine aligned when you doze off. Doctors say that the side sleepers should fill the space above their shoulder so that their head and neck are in a neutral position.
3. Fetal Position
Pros: It is a good sleep posture for snorers and pregnant women.
Cons: It leads to neck and back pain, causes wrinkles and develops saggy breasts.
It is the most popular sleep position. This position (where you are sleeping on your side with your knees bent, and chin tucked up into your chest) is ideal for pregnant women. It is because this sleeping posture improves circulation in the body and the fetus, and prevents the uterus from pressing against the liver.
However, this position can lead to breathing problems. Also, sleeping with your knees bent can make you feel a bit sore in the morning, especially if you have arthritis problem.
To prevent all these problems, you should try to keep your body straight and not tuck your body into an extreme curl.
The Perfect Pillow for Fetal Position:
Try a plump pillow which can give proper support to your head and neck.
4. Sleeping on Your Stomach
Pros: It is a good position for sleeping for those who snore.
Cons: It leads to neck and back pain, respiratory problems, wrinkle problems and saggy breasts.
This is by far the worst position to sleep. Sleeping on stomach eases snoring and is a good position for those who have sleep apnea.
But that is the only thing which is good about this sleeping posture. It’s hard to keep the spine in a neutral position in this sleeping posture, and that is why people who sleep on their stomach deal with neck and back problems. Also, sleeping on the stomach puts pressure on muscles and joints, which leads to various problems such as numbness, aches and tingling.
Perfect Pillow for Stomach Sleepers:
Choose a pillow that is thin and is 3 inches thick; that will keep the spine aligned while you snooze.
It is difficult to choose the best position to sleep as every posture has its own pros and cons. No matter how much health benefits a particular sleep posture has, people will continue to sleep in the position they are comfortable with. Hence, there is no such harm in experimenting with different sleep postures. Good Sleep Habits must be followed but If you think you are facing health problems due to your sleep patterns, then you must consult a Doctor.
Sleep Management for Those Having Difficulty in Sleeping
It is quite a common thing to find people are suffering from sleep disorders. Difficulty in falling asleep can happen due to various reasons. It can be because of stress or even due to some medical conditions. Whatever the case may be, one needs to manage the disorders and maintain Good Sleep Habits to get adequate sleep required for the body and as such sleep management becomes essential.
What causes Difficulty in Sleeping?
It can happen due to a number of reasons. Here are some of them:
-Too much tension or stress in one’s life can lead to sleepless nights. It leads to anxiety and even in some cases might result in sleepwalking.
-Some of the chronic pains can lead to sleeplessness. It can be arthritis pain or pain in the lower back. Some people even suffer from a constant headache that doesn’t allow them to sleep.
-Some people are prone to allergies and suffer from breathing problems. At night, it becomes hard for them to sleep with the clogged nose or due to the constant trouble in breathing.
-Nocturia is another reason for sleeplessness. In this case, the person has to wake up frequently due to the urge of urination. It can happen due to the presence of diseases in the urinary system.
Sleeping Difficulties have Names!
Yes, doctors have named the various disorders that people suffer from due to sleeplessness. Here they go:
Insomnia is the most common type of sleeping disorder. People either find it hard to fall asleep or find it hard to stay asleep in such a case. Insomnia can be of three types- chronic, intermittent and transient.
Sleep apnea is another form of sleeping disorder. In this case, the person has to deal with troubles of breathing while they sleep. There is less intake of oxygen and the person even wakes up in between the sleep.
Parasomnias is another type of disorder that involves unusual movements while sleeping, like- sleepwalking, sleep talking, nightmares, grinding of the teeth or even wetting of the bed.
RLS or Restless Leg Syndrome is another disorder of sleep. In this case, the person feels the urge to move the legs.
Another disorder of sleep is narcolepsy. In this case, the person will feel the urge of falling asleep at any time of the day as they feel tired or fatigued.
How can you manage sleep difficulties?
There are a number of ways to manage the problems of sleeping. To add to what has been written above to nurture good Sleep habits-Here are some of the ways that can help manage Sleep Difficulties:
-Certain change in lifestyle can bring back the healthy sleep that your body needs. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can contribute to reducing the stress and anxiety that you suffer from. Thus, as you feel relaxed, you can fall asleep quickly.
-Maintaining a proper schedule for your sleep is crucial. Make it a habit of going to bed early and keeping that time. Good Sleep Habits always Help.
-Make your diet a healthier one. Add green leafy veggies and fish in your diet and as much as possible, avoid taking sugar in your food consumption.
-Alcohol and smoking are both harmful to health. Avoid these things and get better sleep.
-Caffeine should be consumed in limited amounts.
-Drink adequate water throughout the day, but don’t drink much water just before going to bed, as this will disturb your sleep.
-Before you go to sleep, don’t eat too much. Take a limited amount of food at that time.
-If you are suffering from any chronic pain and it is for this reason that you cannot sleep properly, then it is critical to treat the pain first.
-You must visit a doctor if you have any other medical conditions that disturb your sleep. The doctor might prescribe you sleeping pills or breathing devices as the situation warrants.
What are the most visible Signs of Sleep Deprivation?
Getting the right amount of sleep is essential for the body. Doctors recommend at least 7-9 hours of sleep at night to wake up fresh in the morning. But, most of the people don’t get the required amount of sleep. Most people go to bed late and wake up early in the morning which can have negative effects on the body. Sleep Deprivation can be because of many reasons. They might be suffering from some tensions and troubles, and they don’t have anyone to share with. There are various reasons for which a person is not able to get enough sleep. Some of the many Signs of Sleep Deprivation are as under:
1.Falling asleep right at the moment of getting into bed:
Many people think this to be a positive sign and it is just the opposite. Falling asleep faster is a sign that the body is sleep-deprived and not getting the right amount of sleep. A person should take at least 5-7 minutes to go to sleep so that they can get up fresh in the morning.
2.Getting hungry faster than usual:
This is the case with most people that they get hungry fast and like to take something after every hour. Hungriness is a sign that the individual is lacking sleep and not getting an adequate amount of sleep. Less sleep can make you get hungry faster than usual which is not good. This is because taking more amount of food than necessary can make a person fat and gain more weight.
3.Tend to Forget Things Faster:
A person who is scarce of sleep tends to forget things faster. They forget what they were thinking at that very moment. Deprivation of sleep can cause more emotional breakdown and make a person forget what they were thinking.
4.Being more Clumsy:
When a person is behaving in a clumsy manner and not being able to do their work properly, this is a clear sign that the person lacks sufficient amount of sleep. People who lack sleep stumble over, and they are not able to perform well in whichever task that they are given. These kind of people are most often unsteady, and they fall most of the times and forget where they were going.
The Signs of Sleep Deprivation: Sleeping during Daytime at any Place
A person who is not being able to stay vigilant during the daytime is lacking sleep at night. They don’t sleep adequately at night. This kind of people tends to fall asleep at any place especially during movies or when going on a journey. When a person gets the right amount of sleep at night, then they remain active during the day, and they can complete their work in time.
—Yawning too Much:
Yawning too much during the daytime could also be a sign of sleep deprivation.It gives a kind of indication that the body did not get enough sleep as was required.
A person tends to read the same Sentence Twice:
A person tends to forget the lines when they are sleep deprived. When reading a novel or any book, they might read the same sentence twice and forget which to read. Amnesia a good sign and should be prevented as much as possible.
These are some of the signs of sleep deprivation which prove that a person is not having proper sleep. Good amount of sleep is necessary at night to remain fit and healthy and be able to do all daily chores with ease and enthusiasm.
Beware of Sleep Deprivation because of Stress!
Sleep is one of the most necessary human functions as it recharges our brain and allows our bodies to rest. When we are not able to get proper sleep, our bodies are not able to get the many benefits of sleep, such as muscle repair and memory consolidation. Sleep is very vital for maintaining our health and Sleep Deprivation can affect your mood, judgement and memory. Also, lack of sleep leads to various health problems, such as obesity and High Blood Pressure. According to a survey conducted stress is one of the major factors that affect our sleep and keep many teens and adults from getting the sleep they need to be healthy both mentally and physically.
The Sleep-Stress Cycle
Stress causes insomnia and makes it difficult to fall asleep and also to stay asleep, by affecting the quality of your sleep. Stress causes hyperarousal, which affects the balance between sleep and wakefulness.
Many surveys results’ show that stress affects our amount and quality of sleep. In America, 42 % of adults report that they are not able to sleep properly and the quality of their sleep is poor, and 43 % of adults report that it is their stress which makes them lie awake in the night. Also, many report that when their length and quality of the sleep decreases; their stress is increased.
When people do not get an appropriate amount of sleep, they feel more stressed. Researchers show that many people face negative consequences when they do not get enough sleep. More than 53% people report feeling lazy, 38 % people report feeling irritable, 29% report that they have trouble while concentrating and 25% report that they feel no motivation to take care of their role and responsibilities.
Adults who sleep less than 8 hours a night are more stressed than those who sleep for at least 8 hours every night. These adults who sleep for less than 8 hours a night are more likely to report stress symptoms, such as feeling angry, irritated, feeling overwhelmed, losing patience, yelling at others, skipping exercises and other physical activities and losing interest and energy in their work.
Adults who are highly stressed say that they are not able to sleep properly as their minds race when they try to sleep. Adults who are highly stressed are more than those who are not so stressed to say that they feel the effects of getting too little sleep as mentioned below:
68% of adults say they feel lazy versus 36% of adults with low stress.
59% per cent say they feel irritated versus 20 per cent of adults who are not so stressed.
45% say they are not able to concentrate properly versus 12 per cent of adults with low stress.
45% say they feel more stressed versus five per cent of adults with low stress.
27% per cent say they feel sad or depressed versus two per cent of adults with low stress.
Symptoms of Stress:
Common signs and symptoms of stress are:
Sleep problems; either not being able to sleep or getting too much of sleep
Lack of concentration
Feeling tensed all the time.
These are some of the common symptoms of Stress. However, it is not necessary that stress will lead to unhealthy sleeping habits. Thus, you have to see yourself that your poor sleeping habits have started after facing any of the above-mentioned symptoms or not. So, ask yourself that ‘When did it start? Also, observe that the sleep problem come and go with the coming and going of your stress or it persists throughout the day and night. If you feel that stress is the reason for your poor sleep, you must try something to combat stress.
Few Tips to Combat Stress:
1. Eat a healthy diet:
There are certain foods which reduce stress like green leafy vegetables, dark chocolates, blueberries and many more. Include these foods in your diet and say goodbye to stress.
2. Make time for your hobbies:
Always give time for the activity you love to do. If you love reading books, take out time and read a book every night you sleep. This will not only reduce stress but also help you to sleep better.
There are certain yoga exercises which help our body and mind. Thus, exercise daily and relieve stress and get proper sleep.
4. Live in the present
Most of the time people feel stressed when they overthink about the past or the future. It is right that you must learn from your past mistakes and should think about your future; however, overthinking releases a chemical in our brain which leads to stress. Thus, live in your present moment and make the best out of it.
Start your day with simple meditation exercises. Firstly, you should sit in a comfortable position. Then close your eyes and breathe slowly and focus on your breathing. You can also chant any mantra while meditating. Do this for 5-10 minutes; it will help you to reduce stress.
Stress causes many health problems, including sleep deprivation. You can follow the tips mentioned above to reduce stress and have a good night sleep. However, if even these tips do not help you to sleep peacefully, you must Consult a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist.
Lack of Sleep Linked To Weight Gain
Most of the people don’t know that lack of sleep can also lead to Weight Gain. Researchers have shown that those who sleep for less than five hours or more than nine hours increase their likelihood of gaining weight.
In a study conducted, it was seen that men who were sleep-deprived increased their preferences for foods rich in calories and increased their overall calorie intake. In another study, it was seen that women who slept for more less than 6 hours and more than nine hours were more likely to gain 5 kilogrammes as compared to women who slept seven hours a night. Various studies have shown a similar pattern between sleep deprivation and weight gain in children and adolescents.
Understanding the Relation between Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain
When you do not sleep or get enough amount of sleep, your metabolism does not function properly. Just think about it, when you are feeling sleepy at work, you are tempted to drink a cup of coffee or eat some snacks. Later, you may skip the gym as you are so tired from the work that you want to go directly to your home. When you finally are on your bed, you are too wound up to sleep. This is a vicious cycle which eventually sabotages your health and also affects your waistline.
Doctors say that when we are sleep deprived and are running on low energy, we automatically start feeling hungry, and thus we grab a bag of potato chips or other foods which increase our weight. This way we can fight off sleepiness.
However, when we consume these junk foods without any exercise, it results in further sleep loss and obesity. Insufficient sleep promotes hunger and appetite, which in turn makes us intake excessive food resulting in weight gain. Sleep Deprivation affects each and every process in the body.
Various studies have shown that when people do not get the required amount of sleep the following conditions occur:
• People have increased levels of a hunger hormone which is called ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin which makes a person to eat more, resulting in weight gain.
• People tend to consume more amount of calories when they are not well-rested. Overall, most of the extra calories come from high-fat foods.
• People tend to do less physical activity and eat more Snacks.
• When people eat more than what is needed and that too at night, it leads to Weight Gain.
‘Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life’ is the slogan of World’s Sleep Day, 2017. Now, when you know the many incredible benefits of good sleep- you must develop good sleep habits to stay healthy and fit. If you are a late sleeper, make a plan and try sleeping early. As Dalai Lama once said, ‘Sleep is the Best Meditation’- do get a good night sleep so that you enjoy a happy life. If you are not able to sleep properly for a prolonged period, do not hesitate to visit a Physician.