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Why good sleep is so vital

brunch Updated: Mar 15, 2014 19:32 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story


Open your eyes to the truth -- good sleep is essential for good health.

Has it happened to you?
1.You’re driving to work in the morning. You’re stuck at a long red light. Do you find yourself getting groggy behind the steering wheel?
2. You’ve just finished lunch. Are you fighting the urge to nod off at the office desk?
3. You haven’t made any big lifestyle changes. Are aches and pains appearing more often?

If it has, you’re probably sleep deprived. Most urban dwellers now get less and less sleep each night, and miss good quality sleep too. Research suggests that adults need between seven to eight hours of shut-eye every night.

Groggy at work? It’s a sign that sleep deprivation is wreaking havoc inside your body




Chronic sleep deprivation raises the body’s cortisol, which make you edgy and wired up.


Sleep-deprived people are more likely to lose their cool easily and get frustrated.


Sleep less and you age faster.


You are more prone to muscle pulls, and injuries heal slower.


The body’s production of the hormones – ghrelin (which increases appetite) and leptin (which signals that you’re full) – are compromised when it is not rested enough. So you overeat and gain weight.


Lack of sleep also makes you more prone to frequent coughs and cold. You’re more vulnerable to infections and fevers as your immunity is lower.

How come something as simple as sleep causes so many problems when you skip it?

Because sleep is more than a state of relaxation. Studies in sleep labs show that it has several phases. The initial phase, when we doze, lets the mind and body slowly relax into deep sleep. This lasts some 90 minutes, after which comes active sleep, with Rapid Eye Movement (REM), during which the brain processes the information of the day and repairs the body.

Not just a time-out
Think of sleep as medicine. It’s the time the body produces hormones that heal the body, skin and mind. It’s also a sort of reboot, when the mind organises new information received in the waking hours. So while it seems like sleep is a waste of time, a period of doing ‘nothing’ instead of ‘something better’, sleep is more important for you than anything you could have done otherwise.

From HT Brunch, March 16

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