Sleep well to stay healthy

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Posted on October 24, 2021 | Author Dr Abdul Majid and Dr Aijaz A Suhaff

Sleep is a biological process essential for life and optimal health. While we are sleeping and resting, our brain and internal organs are working throughout sleep. Sleep is important for the normal functioning of various vital functions of the body such as metabolism, regulation of appetite, and the functioning of the immune, hormonal and cardiovascular systems. Healthy sleep means sufficient, good-quality, regular and undisturbed sleep.

If you get adequate sleep, it will help improve your learning, memory, creativity, immunity, and mood. Sufficient duration and quality of sleep are essential for healthy sleep, but normal sleep duration differs by age.

Most adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and people over 65 get 7-8 hours of sleep. Babies need until 5 p.m., while the range for teens is 8-10 hours. Sleep should be uninterrupted because interrupted sleep interferes with the natural cycle process through the various stages of sleep and a person can suffer from the effects of sleep deprivation. It has also been found in research that in people who maintain a regular bedtime, the risk of obesity and diabetes is reduced.

Good sleep helps you think more clearly and concentrate effectively. Due to so many issues or work demands on family etc, we don’t have enough time to relax as we often sacrifice sleep which can lead to both physical and mental issues. Lifestyle and environmental factors, psychosocial issues, and medical conditions all contribute to sleep problems.

Sleeping patterns during the COVID-19 era have been disrupted for everyone as most of the activities of daily living have come to a halt, be it education, tourism, commerce and other important activities. According to studies, COVID-19 has had adverse effects on sleep and is a heavy burden among various population groups. Sleep disturbances, mental illnesses and physiological illnesses form a vicious cycle that worsens the prognosis of COVID-19 patients.

The high workforce, shift work and stress associated with COVID-19 have increased the risk of sleep disturbances for frontline workers in general and healthcare workers in particular. For the general public, the quality of sleep seems more sensitive to socio-psychological factors. The effects of sleep disorders on the general population across age groups are varied.

Effects of decreased or lack of sleep

Ø You might feel slow.

Ø You might feel foggy.

Ø You might feel depressed.

Ø You might feel irritable.

Ø It impairs your higher levels of reasoning.

Ø It hurts your higher problem solving ability.

Ø It alters your higher attention.

Ø It interferes with your concentration.

Ø It affects your immunity.

Ø It affects your appetite,

Ø It affects your blood pressure.

Ø It increases the risk of obesity.

Ø It increases the risk of heart disease.

Ø It can produce diabetic-like conditions in otherwise healthy people.

How do you know when you are not getting healthy sleep?

Ø When you wake up earlier than your usual hours.

Ø When you don’t feel rested in the morning.

Ø When you start to feel a lack of energy during the day

Ø When you’re in a bad mood.

Ø When you have trouble getting up in the morning.

Ø When you have trouble concentrating.

Ø When you feel irritable.

Ø When you feel drowsy during the day.

Ø When you sleep much longer or later on unstructured days.

Good sleep is essential for your health. To make every day a safe and productive day, take steps to make sure you get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis.

How to maintain a regular sleep schedule?

· You should go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (+/- 20 minutes).

· You should avoid long naps.

· You should practice relaxation techniques before going to bed.

· You should do deep breathing exercises at night.

· You should take a hot shower or bath about 90 minutes before going to bed.

· You should listen to soothing music.

· You should avoid coffee or tea.

· You should avoid eating heavy meals before going to bed.

· You should wait until you are sleepy before going to bed.

· You should avoid television and cell phones.

· If you’re afraid to do your job, make a to-do list for the next day.

· You should try to avoid emotionally overwhelming conversations and activities before you try to fall asleep.

· Avoid smoking.

· You need to exercise regularly.

· You need to ensure adequate exposure to natural light during the day.

· You must remove all the gadgets from the room to avoid distractions.

· You need to keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Use curtains or blinds to block the light.

· You have to avoid the noise.

· You should hide the clock at night.

· You should avoid extreme heat or cold.

· You should avoid drinking too much fluids at night.

See a doctor if you have persistent sleep disturbances. You may have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Getting adequate sleep is important both for the physique and Mental Health, improving productivity and overall quality of life. Everyone from children to the elderly can benefit from better sleep, and sleep hygiene can play a key role in achieving this goal.


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