Most of the people train hard at gym, stick to their nutrition plans, stay pretty active for the day yet fail to see results at the pace it should be. Why?
Because a sound and timed sleep is highly under-rated by a majority of us, especially the young population, adolescents, working professionals etc. Sleep is a necessity for maintaining a good physical, mental and emotional health; as much as a quantified nutrition and adequate exercise is.
Major causes of sleep deprivation:
1. Long work hours, working in shifts along with commuting time.
2. Night life: Continued late hour social gathering / celebrations / hang outs etc. set reduced sleep hours as default in most individuals.
3. Technology and gadgets: Getting stuck to technology and gadgets during bed time is a building block laid towards a poor health.
4. “If you snooze, you lose” – the unsaid stress!
While most of us believe that our sleep time is absolutely fine and adequate as long as there is no problem in our everyday chores or causes any negative outcome; it actually doesn’t hold true in terms of our body and system.
It has been said that human can survive without food for a longer time than surviving without sleep!
Continued sleep deprivation can result in many disorders – to state a few below;
1.Narcolepsy: A neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wake-up. Major symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness in scattered intervals across the say.
2. Sleep Apnoea: Respiratory airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, reducing or completely stopping the airflow.
3. Insomnia: Sleep disorder where a person finds it tough to fall asleep or stay asleep else both. Waking up many times during the night and finding it difficult to sleep again and tiredness upon waking are the major symptoms. Insomnia is a growing disorder in many people. Lifestyle pattern, stress and anxiety level are the major causes for insomnia.
4. Restless Limb Syndrome: It is a nervous system disorder causing an urge to move limbs(hands and legs – majorly legs). It usually interferes with sleep and worsens in sleeping hours. Hence is considered as a sleep disorder.
These disorders can either be cured with time through lifestyle changes and by improving sleep quality. Extreme or prolonged episodes of such disorders also demand medication.
Measures to ensure an adequate sleep:
1. The more stable and consistent our circadian rhythm is, the better our sleep is. Hence sticking to a fixed routine helps getting quality sleep.
2. Block your Clock: Sticking to a fixed sleep and wakeup time helps. With exception to occasions and contingencies, setting the clock for going to bed helps.
3. Avoiding Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine, Smoke towards sleeping hours is highly recommended.
Caffeine can stay in system for hours affecting next day performance. It is easier to tame mind and go off to sleep after having a cup of coffee; however it is not possible to stop the systems churning once caffeine enters the system and generates stimulus.
b. Alcohol might generate a sedative effect while it is consumed; however later itmetabolizes during the sleeping hours thereby affecting the quality of sleep.
4. Eat right: Every individual is aware of his system and how it responds. For e.g. If eating high protein or fat diet towards night causes reflux then it is wise to time the meals according to what best suits the body by shifting protein and fats at least 3 hours before sleeping or else keeping it lesser towards sleeping hours. However the dietary intake and timing of meals is also dependent on the fitness goal the individual is chasing.
5. Free your mind: Psychological stressors and troubles should be side-lined while going to sleep. The switch to thinking cap and stress about next day has to be turned off.
6. Meditation: A short meditation before going to sleep cools down the mind and brings positivity. This improves sleep quality.