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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014
Are you a super sleeper?
Kavita Devgan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 15, 2012
First Published: 17:33 IST(12/12/2012)
Last Updated: 18:45 IST(15/12/2012)

We spend one thirds of our lives asleep, but this is hardly time wasted. Sleep is essential to our lives. It corrects the chemical imbalances in our waking brain. It lets muscles rest. It lets the body repair itself. It feels wonderful.

Skimping on sleep, or not sleeping well doesn’t just cause yawns the next day, it affects your entire being. Take the quiz to find out if you need to be better friends with your pillow.

1. Is an afternoon nap a good idea?
(a) It’s the best thing in the world.
(b) I prefer a short power nap.
(c) I hate being lazy like that.
(a) 3 points, (b) 10 points, (c) 5 points

Sleep2. What time do you prefer to pump weights or take that jog?
(a) Early morning it is for me.
(b) Anytime during the day.
(c) Late evening is the only time I can squeeze in some body time.
(a) 10 points, (b) 5 points, (c) 3 points

3. Coffee after dinner, anyone?
(a) Black coffee after every meal.
(b) No caffeine after meals for me.
(c) Yeah sometimes!
(a) 3 points, (b) 10 points, (c) 5 points

4. How long do you sleep every night?
(a) I mostly squeeze in eight hours.
(b) I barely manage 4-5 hours.
(c) I need 10-11 hours every night.
(a) 10 points, (b) 3 points, (c) 3 points

5. Snoring... is it really a problem?
(a) It is irritating, but harmless really. (b) I am a bit worried about it.
(c) I intend to go to a doctor soon.
(a) 3 points, (b) 5 points, (c) 10 points

6. Sleep and weight – any connection?
(a) The less I sleep thinner I’ll be. After all I will burn more calories.
(b) There is no connection .
(c) I’ve heard that If you don’t sleep enough, your waist expands.
(a) 3 points, (b) 5 points, (c) 10 points

7. Do you know that less you sleep, more cold and flu you’ll catch.
(a) That’s just an old-wive’s tale.
(b)There’s probably a connection.
(c) If I skip sleep, I tend to fall ill more.
(a) 3 points, (b) 5 points, (c) 10 points

8. Beauty sleep? Is it a fairy tale?
(a) No it’s true. It’s good for skin.
(b) Maybe, a spa session helps more.
(c) No connection. Your looks are wholly and solely a generic lottery.
(a) 10 points, (b) 5 points, (c) 3 points

9. So you have a presentation tomorrow. It can make or break your career.
(a) You’ll stay up all night and fine tune it. It’s got to be perfect.
(b) You’ll do your best and get a good night’s sleep.
(c) You’ll go to bed but keep tossing and turning and sleep badly.
(a) 3 points, (b) 10 points, (c) 3 points

10. How about a few drinks before sleeping...
(a) One or two drinks are a great idea. Helps me relax and hit the sack.
(b) No I prefer not to drink if I am working the next day.
(c) Getting sozzled is the best way to pass out cold.
(a) 5 points, (b) 10 points, (c) 3 points


RESULT
Eye maskBelow 40 points: Your info-meter about sleep and its effects is running really low. This could be damaging your overall health. Read our tips and have a good night tonight.

Between 40 and 70 points: You know some of it but not all of it. Sleep is vital and you need to fill up the gaps in your knowledge and act accordingly. Explanations are at the end.

Above 70 points: You are sorted on this front. You seem to be doing the right things. Read through the explanations below so that you know why it all helps.

EXPLANATIONS
1. Studies show that a 30-minute afternoon nap improves alertness, memory, and reduces the symptoms of fatigue. It could reduce risk of heart diseases, possibly by lowering stress levels.

2. Physical fatigue is a great sedative. Try not to work out near bedtime as exercise pumps up endorphins and raises body temperature, which can keep you awake. Finish exercising at least three to four hours earlier.

Coffee3. Caffeine disrupts sleep. Avoid coffee, aerated drinks and tea four to six hours before bedtime. Nicotine is a stimulant too, so ciggies are a no-no.

4. Infants usually require about 16 -18 hours of sleep, teens nine hours. Most adults need about seven to eight hours. You know you’re getting enough when you don't        feel like nodding off the next afternoon.

5. Snoring may seem benign, but may point to hypertension and heart disease. Don’t take it lightly. See an ENT or a sleep specialist.

6. Getting enough sleep each night can actually help keep your waistline trim. Over two dozen studies suggest that people who sleep less tend to weigh more. A sleep deprived body produces more stress hormones, which slow your metabolism and affect your appetite. Sleep deprivation can also reduce the calories you burn by just breathing and maintaining body temperature.

Alarm7. Sleep time is when your body and immune system do most of its repair and rejuvenation. Sleep deprivation affects the white blood cell count adversely – your body’s ability to fight infections. So that cold or flu you keep getting repeatedly could have something to do with your sleep debt.

8. At night, the skin is restored from the effects of daily stress. It’s also when the body goes into repair mode and regenerates skin, blood and brain cells, as well as muscles.

9. A good night’s sleep is better than an all-nighter. A Harvard study found that people who slept after learning about a new task remembered more about it the following day than people who stayed up learning the same thing.
 
Driniking10. Drinking too close to bedtime can also accentuate sleep problems like sleep apnea, snoring, and insomnia, and make stomach problems like acid reflux worse. Besides a full bladder will not let you sleep at all, as you get up again and again to hit loo.

From HT Brunch, December 16

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