People tend to see sleep as an unnecessary waste of valuable time, with many working professionals sleeping only about a couple of hours at a time through the night, aiming to save up time and instead utilize it on their work assignments. But one fact most of us tend to ignore is that the time we spend not being awake determines how productive we are going to be when we are awake. Not sleeping enough can have many adverse effects on our health in the long term, such as:
1. A toxic cycle powered by caffeine.
Caffeine is sought as an easy fix for the lost hours of the night before. It puts a cover on the signs of improper sleep. But caffeine subsequently makes it harder to sleep the next day, which leads to the consumption of even more caffeine. This further irritates the sleeping cycle.
2. A weaker immunity system.
Just like your body, your immune system also tires from its job of routinely making sure your body remains healthy. Adequate sleep helps replenish the immune system and makes sure it does its duty day in and out. Here are a few ways you can boost your immunity system as well.
3. It can cause weight gain and diabetes.
When not blessed with adequate sleep, the body produces more of ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone and less of leptin, a chemical that makes you feel full. This often leads to overeating and successive weight gain. All of this is accompanied by excess production of insulin in the body, which increases fat storage and the subsequent risk of having type 2 diabetes.
4. Disrupts your mental well-being.
Even a single night's disrupted sleep can have an impact on our mood. So it stands to reason what the impact would be when exposed to consistent nights of inadequate rest. Surveys show that they are a major factor in long-term mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. You can use these practices of mindfulness if suffering through these disorders.
Electronic devices have even started gaining a place on our nightstands. It is common practice amongst most to surf the web or their favourite apps before sliding under the sheets. This habit can have extremely harmful ramifications later in life. In the short-term they have the following consequences on your sleep-
1. Hampers the body's internal clock.
All of us have an in-built biological clock that responds to our environment. At night, it responds to the dim and dark by getting sluggish and sleepy. Using electronics, makes the body go out of sorts as the blue light emitted by these devices along with the fact that they provide cognitive stimulation through flashing lights and blaring sounds makes the brain and body more alert.
2. It halts the production of melatonin, aka, the sleep-inducing hormone.
This disruption of sleep leads to feeling tired and groggy in the morning. It is often accompanied by regrets of not getting enough rest the previous night.
3. Makes you more prone to accidents.
When not fully rested, your mind starts working on autopilot as you're less vigilant and lack the necessary concentration while going through the motions of life.
To cure yourself of this digital annoyance at night, strictly follow a digital curfew at least 15-30 minutes before going to bed. The longer you abstain from these devices before bed, the better it would be for your wellbeing and sleep. Phones usually come with a "bedtime mode" option that can help support this habit.
Here is a list of healthy sleeping habits to ensure that you and your kids have productive and fulfilling days: -
1. Consistency is key.
Go to bed at the same time every day – say 11 pm. And wake up at the same time every day – say 7 am. Habituation will make it easier for your body to adjust itself to a set sleeping schedule, and limit disruption as well as maximize productivity.
2. Include body exercises in your daily schedule.
Doing so regularly will have positive impacts on your body temperature, hormones and metabolism. It is a known fact that indulging in exercise leads to better sleep at night.
3. De-stress and unwind before going to sleep.
Worrying about deadlines scheduled the next day or thinking about incidents that happened the day before which annoyed you, will make you stay awake for the rest of the night. Clear up your mind and you will fall asleep within minutes.
4. Say no to caffeine, nicotine or alcohol.
The basic purpose of coffee is to make you stay awake, so chugging it an hour before going to sleep is certainly not recommended if you wish to have a good night’s sleep. As for nicotine and alcohol, they are harmful for that matter, but in case you do consume them regularly, try not to do so before going to bed as they will disrupt your sleep cycle.
5. Keep a gap of at least two hours between your dinner and your sleep time.
If you go to bed right after dinner, you’ll find it difficult to fall asleep, since the digestive system is still in its active phase. Also, don’t consume a large quantity of sugary food or carbohydrates during the day as they will keep you active and awake and prevent you from going to sleep.
The primary point of emphasis here is to be aware of, and acknowledge the fact that sleeping sufficiently and regularly is necessary for good health. Sleep on time, and that too for 7-8 hours. Once you acknowledge its importance, half the job is done.
Stay Tuned, Stay Relevant!