Eyes wide open? Good sleep needn’t be a distant dream
Sleep is a natural periodic state of rest, for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually remain closed and the consciousness is completely or partially lost. Hence there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli. Sleep follows a pattern of alternating REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) throughout a typical night in a cycle, that repeats itself about every 90 minutes. As we begin to fall asleep, we enter NREM sleep which occupies 75 per cent of the night. The REM happens 25 per cent of the night. Almost 60 per cent of the total population reports sleep problems at some point of their life time. Roughly one third of the general population have sleep problems at any given time.
People get irritable and exhausted, easily distracted and often do not make sound decisions. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts the immune system and may also lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, bone loss and depression. Sleep deprivation may also impair learning, memory, alertness, concentration, judgment, problem-solving and reasoning, as well as increase your risk of accidents. Sleeplessness can be treated by sleep hygiene, medicines, behavioural treatments or surgeries. Other tips for better sleeping experience include avoiding naps during the day; avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime; and, exercising. Food can be disruptive right before sleep. Ensure adequate exposure to natural light. Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine. Associate your bed with sleep and make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. Why do we need sleep? It plays a vital role in good health and wellbeing throughout your life. It protects your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. We spend 33 per cent of our lives sleeping. Normal sleep requirements: > 3 to 5 yrs - 10 to 13 hrs > 6 to 13 yrs - 9 to 11 hrs > 14 to 17 yrs - 8 to 10 hrs > Adults - 7 to 9 hrs Common sleep disorders: > Insomnia (initial, middle, terminal insomnias or non-restorative sleep) > Sleep apnea > Restless legs syndrome > Narcolepsy Medications > Avoid as much as possible > Always take advice from a specialist > Be cautious about addiction > Avoid driving while on medications
“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”