Sleep is an essential aspect of human life that helps us restore both our physical and mental health. In an ideal world, we are required to spend about one-third of our lives sleeping. As a critical component of a healthy lifestyle, the importance of getting enough quality sleep cannot be overemphasised. Just like food, water, and shelter, quality sleep is a necessity for survival. However, it is often overlooked due to various reasons.
Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining good health. It is a complex and intricate process that affects one’s ability to function to our full potential. It has an impact on almost every organ and system in the body; it affects how we breathe as well as how our heart and brain function.
For some, being an insomniac is a health condition. For a few others, their lifestyle plays a significant role in their bad sleep schedule, thereby resulting in sleep deprivation. As youngsters, one often neglects sleep due to parties, university work, failure to maintain a work-life balance, among many other reasons. However, irrespective of your age, lack of sleep affects our metabolism, immunity, temperament, and how our body fights various diseases. Additionally, research also shows that prolonged sleep deprivation or poor-quality sleep significantly increases the risk of heart attacks, obesity, diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure.
Getting enough sleep improves concentration and increases productivity, as well as reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases. It also enhances memory consolidation, mood, and emotional stability. Sleep is therefore important in maintaining good mental and physical health.
What are the different sleep stages?
Many of us have our fitness trackers to thank for our sleep reports every morning. But, for most of them who don’t, what are the different stages we go through when we sleep?
For starters, there are two main types of sleep: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep. NREM is further subdivided into four stages, and it is during these stages that the body repairs and restores itself.
How many hours of sleep does our body need every night?
The number of hours of sleep required varies depending on age. Adults require anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while children need up to 14 hours depending on their age. Babies, for instance, require up to 17-18 hours of sleep, while teenagers require up to 9 hours of sleep per night.
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While sleep deprivation may sound overwhelming and scary, there are several ways to improve your sleep schedule. It includes setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, creating a relaxing sleep environment, avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, and avoiding the use of electronics before bedtime. Additionally, following a regular exercise routine for a few minutes every day along with some therapeutic colouring activity, or gratitude journaling can also help reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep at night.
Taking care of yourself is a necessity. It is ever so important if you are a parent, since you are not only responsible for your own health and well-being but also that of your children. Managing work, parenting (especially for new parents) and the everyday chores can be daunting. But, prioritising your health with quality sleep and a few hacks will greatly enhance your life, overall.
Getting enough quality sleep is essential for people of all ages. It plays an important role in enhancing our physical and emotional well-being, improving cognitive functioning, and reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases. While there are several ways to improve sleep schedules, it is essential to make it a priority in our daily routines. By making sleep a priority, we can achieve better health outcomes and improve our overall well-being.