Sleep and well-being go hand in hand, and getting a good night’s sleep is just as important to your overall health as eating well and exercising regularly.
When you sleep your body gets to work by healing damaged cells, boosting your immune system, recovering from the day’s activities and prepares your heart and cardiovascular system for the next day.
What happens if we don’t get enough sleep?
If your body doesn’t get a chance to go through the two phases of sleep, REM and non-REM, you’re already starting the next day with a disadvantage. You might find yourself:
- Feeling drowsy
- Lack of concentration, struggling remembering things or making decisions
- Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation sometimes lead to hallucinations, and delusions.
If this happens over time, it can put a strain on your body. So if you’re not sleeping well, it’s important to consult your psychiatrist.
Helpful tips for a good night’s sleep
Maintain regular timings for sleep: Maintain a routine and rhythm, even on weekends or after a poor night’s sleep.
Understand your sleep requirements: Most people need at least six hours sleep for normal memory and brain function. Give yourself an hour to wind down before going to bed
Spend some time in natural light: This helps promote melatonin production in your body, which helps regulate your sleep cycle.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment: Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark. Avoid distracting noises and light.
Consume caffeine: Avoid tea, coffee, soft drinks and chocolate. Instead try warm milk or herbal drinks.
Drink alcohol before bed: Alcohol may worsen snoring or sleep apnoea; it may cause fragmented sleep and wakes you up too early.
Exercise just before bed: Exercise stimulates the body and makes it difficult to fall asleep. Make sure you finish your workout at least two hours before bedtime.
Smoke: Nicotine is a stimulant that may make falling asleep more difficult.
Do not eat a heavy, spicy or sugary food before bed or sleep on an empty stomach. If you’re hungry, a light snack might help you sleep.
The author is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist from Nagpur