Shakespeare defines sleep as “The chief nourisher in life’s feast” and so is medical science. During sleep our body and mind both work together to repair the daily fatigue, balance the unbalanced hormones, calm down the muscles and get ready for a new day. We all know that sleep is very necessary for our health. Studies prove that adults who sleep around seven to nine hours a day a more energetic, alert and healthy as compared to others who are sleep deprived.
But if someone asks you, when was the last time you slept as soon as you laid on bed and closed your eyes. Thinking right! If you have trouble sleeping or suffering from sleep disorder, then you are not alone. Every one in three adults suffer from sleep deprivation nowadays and most of them are women, as stated by statistics. Our body has its own clock, circadian clock, that regulates the functioning of human body and decides sleeping patterns. But sometimes due to unhealthy lifestyle or disease or medication side effects, this body clock is affected leading to changes in sleeping patterns or less sleep. In medical terms, lack of sleep or trouble in sleeping is called insomnia.
Not getting enough sleep can cause hallucination, fatigue, mental and physical disorder etc. but its symptoms are curable either by medication or by simple remedies which are safe and easy to apply. But before one switches to the cure, it is necessary to understand the problem and how to0 overcome its effects.
What reduces your quality and quantity of sleep?
There are a number of factors that contribute to sleep deprivation in an individual and the most common one being stress and anxiety. People today are becoming workaholics, giving less time to their own body and mind. Late night at office or parties, unhealthy lifestyle, workload; all adds to lack of sleep and thus affects the natural balance of body, resulting in anxiety and sleep disorder.
Noisy environment while sleeping, temperature fluctuations, disruption in regular sleeping pattern, chronic pain, depression, hormonal changes, side effects of a medication and sleep apnea are other factors that can dwindle your quality and quantity of sleep. Also if you smoke, drink or consume caffeine before going to sleep or take long evening or afternoon naps, then you your chances of become a victim of sleep deprivation are high.
Why is sleep deprivation an evil?
Sleep may not triumph over water and food as basic needs for human survival, but still we need it. It helps in rejuvenation of body and mind and lack of it can lead to various disastrous effects on both. Thus it is very important to repay your sleep debt (the amount of sleep you need per day minus your actual sleeping hours), which could, otherwise hamper your natural body balance. Some of the effects of sleep deprivation accounts to the following:
- Memory and concentration problems
- Mood swings and bad effect on day to day life
- Lower metabolism
- Affects body weight
- Weakening of immune system, making you prone to become sick.
Overcoming the effects of sleeping deprivation
The more trouble you have in sleeping, the more it mitigates ones well being. Best way to decrease the effects of insomnia is to take your mind off the thought of not sleeping. But you will have to work a lot to trick your mind think that ways. There are a number of medications available, which includes over the counter pills and herbal supplements both that help in reversing the effects of sleeplessness, helps you clear your sleep debt and curb your sleep disorder. It is wise to consult your physician before taking medication of any type, in order to avoid side effects of any sorts. Insomnia is also the result of side effects of some medication and thus it is important to take medical assistance before your go and buy sleep medicines. There are some strategies and home remedies too which can help effectively in curing insomnia.
Try changing your lifestyle
Many people sit glued to the TV screens even if they are feeling sleepy. Change it! One must get into bed as soon as he or she feels sleepy. Get the TV or laptop out of your bedroom. Also take the alarm clock off your side table and keep windows open so that the sun should enter your room and wake you up naturally. It also helps in maintaining an airy and comfortable environment inside the room to relax and sleep. If you smoke before bed times or drink or are addicted to caffeinated drinks, give them all up! These all hinder a sound sleeping pattern along with their other adverse effects. If you get bored at workplace or while sitting idle and a tiny thought of having a small nap strikes your mind, avoid it right away. Nap in day time can affect your sleeping hours and thus causing trouble getting sleep when its actual time to have one.
Exercise, Exercise and Exercise- try this mantra
This will not only help you get in shape but will exhaust you a bit , increase blood circulation, detox your body by sweating and thus keeping your mind fresh and ideal for hitting your head to pillow. Studies prove that one who exercises daily, at least four hours before going to bed, sleeps on time daily and enjoys a nice and refreshing slumber. This will help you manage you weight all well and reverse the bad effects of irregular and insufficient sleep.
Go green, try herbal aid
Herbs like valerine, lavender, German chamomile, oats etc. are helpful in triggering sleep naturally and serve as effective treatment of insomnia in many. Also there are certain oils whose aroma instigates sleep. These include neroli, mandarin, sandalwood etc. While these natural cures are useful for people with sleep disorders, they also help in many other ways like treating mental stress and boost immune system.
Calm your mind with yoga and meditation
One of the deadly cause and effect, in return, of sleep deprivation is stress and depression. People you have hard time trying to sleep often get tensed thinking why they can’t sleep. This causes mental fatigue and you wake up exhausted even if you have been in bed for hours. Yoga and meditation are two techniques which can help you with this. While meditation helps in calming the mind and souls, yoga aids in keeping your mental and physical energies in harmony. Even the secretion of some sleep hormones, which naturally occur inside the body, is increased leading to better and proper sleep in time. Well it’s not just these two, but any activity that helps you calm your mind, like listening to soft music, play games with your family, solving puzzle etc. will help you sleep well, decompress and relax. You can also try chanting some mantras while you lie down with eyes closed.
Eat healthy, sleep well
What you eat, when you eat and how much you eat, all affects your sleeping patterns. Eating wisely is equally important to eating healthy. You much have fixed meals at regular intervals and avoid eating heavy stuff or overeating at night. This can affect your body’s metabolism and hinder sleep. Light meals are easy to digest and will not cause uneasiness of any kind. Small walk after dinner or having light snack just before bed time will also help in having a sound and sufficient sleep. If you are over stuffed with food, then your digestive system will be over burdened and you will not be able to have a comfortable sleep at night. It is the energy for which food is important, energy which is required by body to carry out its functions while you are asleep, not for satisfying your taste buds. So eat wisely day and night and sleep comfortably.
Shutting your eyes at the right and regular time is must
Fixed sleep routine is very important. If you prepare to sleep at the same time daily, then you will not have trouble in sleeping and will also enjoy a deep sleep. This helps in setting up your body clock that will regulate other functions of the body well. Go for a stroll, take a warm bath and lie down in a quiet and dark room comfortably and watch yourself going into sleep. This works best for sleep deprivation sufferers and cures it slowly. Even if you take small naps in day time, make sure you don’t fall asleep otherwise you might have trouble closing eyes at night.
It is also said “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise! “. To fix a schedule for everything and set a time when you will go to bed. This way you always wake up fresh, with your mind and body all set for a bright day to come.