Let me start by asking you all a question (answer it to yourself or leave your answer in the comment box); “When was the last time that you slept really well?” and by “really well”, I mean :
- You went to bed at a reasonable hour in the night,
- You did not have to toss and turn around the bed feeling restless,
- You woke up feeling really fresh,
- You woke up feeling really charged up and positive looking forward to tackle your day ahead.
If you are not a religious “sleeper”, I bet the answer to this question would be “I do not remember exactly when 😦 “
Who would not love a good night’s sleep! But then what has went wrong in our lives that relaxed sleeping has become such a difficult task?
Sleep has a very a intricate relationship with our personal wellbeing. It is the “PAUSE” time of our daily lives, a time to stop thinking, working and just relaxing our bodies and mind. But today’s world and workaholic lifestyles have started to completely overlook the benefits of sleep and at some levels have, in fact, developed abusive sleep behaviours. A major population today considers sleeping less as a way of increasing their productivity, a way to get more work done in the 24 hours of a day.
The science of sleep is very deep and meaningful. Although during sleep your body is in a state of total physical rest, your brain performs several complex processes in this state. A healthy adult should get an average of 8-9 hours of sleep daily.
Let me guide you through the things one must know about sleep and the do’s and don’t that will lead you to a really refreshing sleep.
- Sleep is one of the most important health habits. It gives your body adequate time to rest. Help your skeletal and muscular system to relax.
- It is extremely essential for the nervous system. Sleep soothes your nerves and boosts their performance.
- Sleep has a very deep impact on your cognitive abilities. The brain performs several complex processes during sleep. Research has shown that it is during sleep that your brain processes the day’s events and restores energy in it’s cells for the day ahead.
- A 2013 research has shown that during sleep the brain clears out harmful waste proteins that build up between it’s cells. This may reduce one’s risk of having Alzheimer’s.
- Sleep has a direct relationship with one’s stress levels. People with poor sleep habits are at greater risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Healthy sleep boosts your decision making abilities. It helps combat feelings of helplessness, depression and loneliness.
- Naps are a very essential part of a healthy lifestyle. They are scientifically proven to boost one’s mental alertness, memory and creativity.
- Naps helps our system in preventing burnout. It aids us in returning back to our daily work feeling refreshed.
- As mentioned in my previous article on “Understanding Ab Flabs”, getting 8-9 hours of sleep helps us in fighting the stress hormone CORTISOL that has direct relation to our body’s fat accumulation and metabolism.
- Most importantly, good sleep improves our mood and helps us to remain positive and fresh. It boosts the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, appetite and feelings of contentment. So you won’t get cranky, anxious, overwhelmed or easily distracted if you sleep well 🙂
Coming to the DO’s that will help you in getting good sleep:
- Keep your bed clean with a neat and tidy light coloured bed-sheet.
- Get a new pillow cover.
- Fix on a pair of comfortable pyjamas or other night wear that makes you sleepy 🙂
- Take a nice warm shower before going to bed.
- Keep your bedroom clean, cool and dark.
- Use aromatic candles and room fresheners with natural fragrances you are fond of.
- Keep a check on your caffeine intake. Limit the consumption of caffeinated drinks to the first half of the day.
- Lead an active lifestyle; walk and exercise daily.
- Practice deep breathing before going to bed (Stop worrying about things and just relax).
- Listen to soft meditation music if you need to nap in between work or while travelling in-flight.
Another important point, keep all your electronic gadgets away from your bed. Your mind and body getting adequate rest is much more important than checking your email or FB / Twitter updates or chit-chatting with your friends over a group messenger. All of this can be done the next day. Time is the most precious of all resources and do not waste your bed time in other activities.
I hope, by now, I have helped you all understand the importance of sleep in our daily lives. However busy you might be or whatever are the troubles of your life, REMEMBER, sleep is the wonder drug that will help you live your life to it’s best 🙂