If you are sleep deprives, your brain and body systems won’t function normally, dramatically lowering your quality of life. Therefore, it is essential that you follow a healthy sleep regime for a fit body and mind. Let’s understand the ideal time at which you should sleep and wake up, to ensure a healthier and better lifestyle
Know the relationship with nature’s rhythm and body clock: You may find this surprising but our body is naturally set to go along with the day and night patterns. Our body adopts sleep timings basis the circadian rhythm which aligns itself with presence and absence of light (sunlight). When one wakes up in the morning, the body is exposed to sunlight which transmits a signal to the rest of the body stimulating metabolism, and with the onset of sunset, the melatonin levels increase, thereby aiding and assisting better sleep.
The ideal time to sleep: In line with the circadian Rhythm, the ideal time for sleep should be 10 pm and wake-up time should be 6 am, broadly in sync with sunrise and sunset. We sleep the soundest between 2 am to 4 am, so ensuring that you sleep well within time is important. However, if you don’t manage to sleep at an appropriate hour, you will have the urge to sleep between 1 pm to 3 pm, impacting your work during the daytime.
How is your body impacted if you don’t get adequate hours of sleep?
Memory: Studies show that people who slept after learning a task/ memorising study material did better in exams. Sleep helps the brain retain new information to memory through ‘memory consolidation’
Weight gain: Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation or being habituated to delayed sleep may cause weight gain by altering our metabolism and hormones levels, thereby impacting our appetite
Drop in productivity: Sleep deprivation leads to a drastic drop in productivity, increasing our tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. This may cause falls, medical errors, air mishaps, and road accidents
Mental impact: Inadequate sleep may result in irritability, impatience and loss of focus. One will also be chronically fatigued if they are sleep deprived
Physical impact: Sleep deprivation alters our immune function, so our capability of fighting off smaller infections to grave illnesses, is severely impacted. It also impacts your sex drive!
Steps to follow for better sleep:
- Morning workouts help one feel more energetic and remain productive throughout the day
- Monitor your sleeping time (number of sleep hours). For instance, if you have to wake up at 6 am then you should sleep by 10 pm
- Have a 1.5-2hr gap between dinner and sleep time; heavy meals should be avoided in the night
- Refrain from using electronic devices right before getting into the bed
- Adults should try and sleep for a minimum of 7-8 hours
- Don’t sleep in the afternoon for longer durations
- Even if you have timelines to meet, don’t delay your sleep time beyond 12 midnight; it may cause depression in some people
To conclude: Inadequate and inappropriate sleep is now one of the top-most significant lifestyle maladies, across age groups. It is advisable that one should aim for quality sleep to lead a healthy lifestyle.
With inputs by Dr Paritosh Baghel, a consultant physician and specialist-internal medicine at S.L. Raheja Hospital, Mahim