Why is proper sleep necessary?
A satisfactory sleep at night allows your brain to get enough rest, so that it can work more efficiently the next day. Good sleep is as essential as regular physical activity and a balanced diet in order for you to have a healthy body and mind.
So, what keeps you awake at night? Here are some of the causes worth thinking about:
We all have to face stressful situations in our daily lives. And honestly, it can be good if it motivates you to perform better. But what if your stress hormone levels are alarmingly high every day? This surely can’t be healthy. When you are stressed, your sympathetic nervous system doesn’t rest easily and your brain remains hyperactive. This disturbs the normal sleep cycle that is essential for satisfactory sleep.
Did you know that men tend lose about 80 per cent of their deep sleep as they age from 16 to 50 years? This may happen as the testosterone levels drop with increasing age. Furthermore, sleep apnea, characterised by interruption of or difficulty in breathing during sleep, affects nearly nine per cent of adult men and could be another reason for sleep problems.
If you worry too much about issues in everyday life, it can eventually lead to feelings of anxiety. You may not be able to be calm if your mind is constantly crowded with worrisome thoughts. Anxiety can also co-exist with stress and disturb your sleep by not allowing your brain to get enough rest.
You could be taking medications to treat some health condition and not realise that it may be adversely affecting your sleep. These include medications such as antidepressants, painkillers or drugs taken to manage blood pressure. It is surely not right to stop taking the medications recommended by your healthcare professional to treat any of your other health issues; however, since good sleep too is essential for health, you need to find some means of getting your fill of sleep at night.
You may always blame the deadlines at work or financial stress for your disturbed sleep, but at times, your own body could be contributing to sleep problems. Our sleep is determined by the release of hormones such as melatonin and cortisol, which manage the normal sleep-wake cycle. Abnormalities in the balance of these chemical messengers may occur due to changes in the body clock caused by working in shifts, travelling through times zones or even reduced exposure to natural sunlight.
You may not work till late on your laptop or phone, but you need to stop using your gadgets at least two hours before sleeping. Most electronic gadget displays emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin, an important sleep-inducing hormone.
Sunil Rao is the co-founder of Four Fountains De-Stress Spa, a chain of scientific health spas that provides solutions to lifestyle problems such as poor sleep, anxiety and fatigue.
Written By : Sunil Rao