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Sweet dreams

health-and-fitness Updated: Jul 30, 2011 20:05 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Sleep has a lot of functions and constitutes an essential part of being and living. Some of its known functions are:



1.During sleep, the body rejuvenates and regenerates itself. This process is very important for the health of organs and tissues, because tissue breakdown happens on a daily basis, and if repair and regeneration doesn’t happen in a timely fashion, the chances of mutations, cancerous growths, etc., can happen at a faster rate.


2.During sleep, neuronal systems in the brain consolidate information into systematic storage, so that in future when we want to remember something, the information can be retrieved.


3.During sleep, muscles are rested, otherwise, muscles, spine and joints are always in use.

Sleep

Side effects of not getting adequate sleep:


Irritability at work


Weight gain and thyroid problems


Lack of concentration


Inappropriate aggression


Higher incidences of accidents


Increased vulnerability to various allergies


Tissue breakdown, joint and knee problems


Digestive problems


Significantly increased vulnerability to stress



How much sleep is essential


For adults, six to eight hours of sleep is essential. The number can vary from person to person. In small children, sleep requirements are higher; this decreases with age. There is a sleep spurt during the adolescent years.



Sleep patterns have changed due to the following reasons:


The Net, games, jobs that entail night shifts


The cosmopolitan city culture


Higher consumption of alcohol and stimulants


Certain easy-to-obtain sleep medications


Increased business travel across time zones


We live in a culture where work addictions and staying awake longer have become aspirational.



Next week: How do we balance our sleep in the current environment?



From HT Brunch, July 31

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