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Sleep Science


Many people neglect getting enough sleep because they don’t know the benefits of sound sleep. Many of them consider it is a waste of time and see nothing wrong in sleeping less than others. It is a natural state of rest for the mind and body. Remember the following:

Being awake = catabolic (breaks you down)

Being asleep = anabolic (builds you up)

It enhances your anabolic state, rejuvenates the immune system, nourishes the nervous system, skeletal system and muscular system, balances your hormones, boosts your metabolism and improves your brain’s function.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 75 % of people are suffering from Anxiety, Depression, Obesity, Diabetes, Thyroid and Hypertension due to lack of sleep. Just 24 hours of sleep deprivation can lead to 6 % reduction of glucose in the brain.

Due to deprivation, your gut will get upset and increase food cravings like sugar, coke, chips, chocolates and extra cups of tea and coffee. Therefore, always remember the value, you will be able to perform your work better, make better decisions and also have good health.

Requirement of sleep;-

Requirement of amount of sleep are different for people of different age groups, which is described below:

Infants (4 to 12 months)  – 12 to 16 hours

Children (1 to 12 years) – 11 to 14 hours

Teenagers (14 to 18 years) – 8 to 10 hours

Adults (18 to 60 years) – 7 to 9 hours

Adults (60 years and above) – 7 to 8 hours

Effects of Sleep Deprivation:

  • Risk of Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Weak immune system
  • Risk of heart diseases
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Risk of early death

Now, let us understand the science in 10 simple points so that we can enhance the quality.

Natural Morning Light

Human body follow the pattern of circadian rhythm i.e. light and dark pattern. Light signals your hypothalamus gland to be alert and wake up. Too much artificial light negatively affects these glands.

Our eyes have special light receptors that send information to the hypothalamus and produce serotonin that creates happiness. This process happens during the day, if our circadian rhythm and body clock is in synchronization, but when the body clock gets affected by some reasons then serotonin production gets affected.

Melatonin hormone secreted from the pineal gland and body sends signals to the cells to prepare for sleep. Another hormone which is cortisol increase in the morning which is essential for resetting our circadian rhythm gives alertness in the morning, then there is a natural reduction in the cortisol as the day progresses.

Cortisol and Melatonin have inverse relationships. I.e. when cortisol goes up Melatonin goes down and vice versa. Production of right hormones at the right time = normal function of other hormones.

Avoid Screen 90 minutes before bed

iPad, Laptops, Computers and Smartphones, all such devices due to their blue spectrum of light, produce daytime hormones like cortisol and that affects your sleep. For instance, iPad readers also secreted less melatonin, hence they are more tired than book readers, even if both the readers got the same amount of sleep.

Avoid Caffeine after 4 PM

Caffeine is a powerful nervous system stimulant. Study shows caffeine can delay the timing of the body clock; these can reduce your total sleep time.

According to the FDA, caffeinated tea 6 hours before bed can cause sleep troubles. This results in sleep cycle deprivation like when you don’t get enough sleep, it makes you tired which in turn increases your want for more caffeine. Extra consumption of caffeine makes sleep problematic.

Keep your room cool and dark

According to our circadian rhythm, our body temperature doesn’t stay the same. When our body needs rest the body temperature automatically drops that initiates sleep. Study shows that room temperature for sound sleep is 70 ℉ to 80 ℉ or 22 ℃ to 28 ℃.

Dark rooms produce melatonin which is helpful to get good sleep. Skin has sleep hormone receptors that can pick up light as found in the retina.

Sleep at the same time

Timing your sleep is like timing an investment in the stock market. When you invest matters a lot, how much you invest doesn’t matter; because 10 PM to 2 AM is called the money time of our body. During this time our body gets rejuvenated and repairs all body cells.

Improve your gut health

The food that you eat can impact the quality of sleep. Food is not just food, it’s information given to the body. When your gut is not healthy, your absorption of food nutrition becomes poor. 95 % of the serotonin is located in your gut that activates the intestinal system.

Gut is also called the second brain. Gut nourishment is as important as brain nourishment. Sleep deprivation lead to overeating. Processed and packaged food affects gut health, causes indigestion, which means brain-body connection gets damaged. Eating healthy homemade food can heal your gut health as well as overall body.

Create proper environment in your room

The environment you create in your bedroom and the things you do in your bedroom can have a great impact on the quality of sleep. When you are trying to sleep and at the same time your children or family members are doing some other tasks like playing games or watching movies on a laptop or smartphone that causes disturbances and affects all sleep deprivation.

Do some stretches, pranayama on your bed

Stretching before bed rejuvenates your body. Some people experience muscle spasm or catch during sleep, stretching relieves spasm. Because we do a lot of work during the whole day, our body gets tired, stretching helps our body to relax and enhance the quality of sleep.

Some simple asanas like Yastikasana, Markatasana, Child poses, Bridge pose, Vajrasana or Pranayama like anulom-vilom, bhramri, diaphragmatic breathing, etc. can nurture peace in your being, which in turn does self-healing by reliving all tension, stress and anxiety.

Avoid Alcohol & Smoking

Alcohol and Smoking affects REM (Rapid Eye Movement) which means you will not get sound sleep and disturb your system. You will not be able to sleep deeply. This is why people generally don’t feel great after waking up the next day, normally termed a Hangover.

Get proper night wear and make a Gratitude diary.

What clothes you wear while sleeping matters. Your clothes should make you feel comfortable. The bed and pillow should be comfortable as that will make you feel safe and relaxed.

While going into bedroom, think of what best things happened throughout the day and note it down in the diary. Maintain this diary daily as doing this will lighten your stress level and boost your mood.

Be grateful to God that you were able to spend the whole day with good health and that you are safe.

Dr.Hetal Patel


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