Sleep is essential for a healthy body and a sound mind. At least 6-8 hours of sleep is recommended for achieving sound health. However, the fact is that achieving the recommended hours of sleep is difficult for people of all ages. Work schedules, lifestyle, diet habits, all make it difficult to go to bed early and rise early morning.
The result is a rise in personality related and mental health problems among young as well as elderly people. Several adult ADD test results suggest that lack of sleep is one of the major reasons for ADD and similar disorders in the population.
This article explains how you can get sound sleep as part of your everyday lifestyle.
1. For a healthy body and weight
Sound sleep is necessary for maintaining a healthy body weight. One of the main reasons for overweight in a lot of people, especially young people, is a lack of sleep. These people get an average of 4 hours of sleep every night. The body assimilates and digests the food better when it is in a state of rest at night.
By not getting enough sleep we deprive the body of performing this very important mechanism. Also, the stress hormones continue to operate within the body while we are awake. This also results in overweight as well as developing a puffy face, pale skin and even acne.
2. To avoid anxiety and depression
Sleep is a great way to keep anxiety and depression in check, and even prevent their occurrence. When we sleep, our body releases hormones that help to relax our body and relieve the stress that we experience throughout the day. Our energy is revitalized so that we feel fresh and ready to take on the challenges of the day.
Deep sleep or REM sleep as it is called is one of the most important stages of sleep that sets in at least an hour or two after we fall asleep. This is where the maximum benefit in terms of reduced anxiety and depression is experienced.
3. Stronger immune system
Poor sleep can play havoc with your immune system. Most of the diseases that are common nowadays such as various allergies, immunological disorders and other autoimmune diseases are because of weak immune systems. Lack of sleep is a common reason for compromised immune systems in people nowadays.
The period of sleep between 10pm and 2am is crucial for developing immunity. In fact, sleep is regarded as the single biggest factor in developing immunity, compared to vitamin intake and exercise. Getting fewer hours of sleep, and that too after the golden period of 10pm to 2am has passed, contributes to a weak immune system.
4. Mental health
Optimum working of the brain is also related to the quality and amount of sleep. Attention, memory, processing of information, emotional regulation and mood are all affected positively when we get an adequate 8 hours of sleep every night.
Problems like ADD, OCD, weakening memory, Alzheimer’s and irritability of mood can be easily avoided by maintaining a consistent sleep regimen.
We earlier looked at The Relationship between Sleep and Mental Health.
Getting a sound sleep routine
Even though there are many factors that prevent us from following a precise sleep schedule, there are ways in which you can get a good and healthy sleep routine. Here are a few tips.
Make a sleep regimen
Create a ritual out of your sleeping habit to ensure that you know what steps to follow in order to sleep. This will signal to your body that it should wind down for a good night’s sleep. Here are some things you can do:
- Fix a specific spot for sleeping, e.g. your bed, and don’t use it for anything else, like eating or working
- Select a comfortable and breathable sleeping suit or dress
- Switch on a nightlight and light an aromatic candle to create a relaxing ambience
- Leave the window slightly open to let in fresh air
- If your climate is suitable, take a shower before going to sleep
Schedule your bedtime at the same time every night and never deviate from it. Get your body accustomed to feeling sleepy every night so that your biological clock becomes accustomed to it.
- Don’t have anything to eat an hour before your bedtime
- Wind up all office work and chores at least 30 minutes before your bedtime
- Read a nice book or listen to some music a few minutes before going to bed
- Say a little prayer or write a journal before going to sleep
- Set an alarm for waking up in the morning