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Here's why you need good sleep

health and fitness Updated: Jan 09, 2010 21:37 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
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SleepGood sleep is not only a blessing for your health, it is also a good indicator of the state of your health. Sleep is therapeutic and healing, and impacts your body in various ways.

* While you sleep, your brain sorts out the day’s events, learning and information and stacks it all away in such a way that you can retrieve the memories when you need them. So if you don’t sleep properly, you are likely to have trouble with both your short-term and long-term memory. This is bad news for students – indeed, for anyone who has learned any new skill during the day. This is why sleep hygiene is such an important part of the training schedules of world-class athletes.

* Your body also repairs itself while you sleep. The healing of wounds and bone and muscle injuries takes longer than usual when the quality of your sleep is poor.

* Also, if you are sleep deprived, chances that you will have an accident of some sort are higher than usual. You see this typically on highways, factories and construction sites. That’s because sleep deprivation affects your ability to stay alert.

* Several metabolic diseases such as polycystic ovary, diabetes and hormonal disorders are linked to a lack of quality sleep. This is because hormones fluctuate throughout the waking-sleep cycle and are affected when the sleep quality is bad. This, in turn, may affect insulin and cortisol secretion, which ultimately affects the ability of the body to balance its hormones.

The quality of your sleep could be affected by:
* Taking your worries and indecisions to bed on a regular basis
* The consumption of tea or coffee close to bed time
* Too much alcohol
* Viewing disturbing visuals at night
* Reading disturbing information at night
* Having an unkempt, unhygienic place to sleep, or sleeping in your work clothes
* Having a blaring television or radio on in the room
* Having an erratic bed tim
* Eating a very heavy meal at night
* The side effects of any medication you are on

There are two types of unhealthy sleep. The first type is when the normal sleep cycle is affected – you may not be getting enough time in the deep part of the sleep cycle, so all you have is a very light sleep. The second type is when your sleep is actually interrupted.