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Lets do the sleep talk: Sleep-related myths and benefits

From irritability to lack of concentration, sleep deprivation has far-ranging ill effects.We get experts to bust some myths like snoring means deep sleep. We also enlist the benefits of a good night’s sleep.

health-and-fitness Updated: Aug 04, 2015 17:21 IST
Susan Jose
Susan Jose
Hindustan Times
From-irritability-to-lack-of-concentration-sleep-deprivation-has-far-ranging-ill-effects-We-get-experts-to-bust-some-myths-and-enlist-the-benefits-of-a-good-night-s-sleep-Shutterstock-Photo( )

A recent study conducted by Clemson University, USA, suggests that bad sleeping habits can make your personality more rash, leading to severe repercussions in your personal as well as professional life. Experts, too, have agreed that sleep deprivation can make one irritable, cause lack of concentration, high blood pressure, and decrease one’s immunity. In a city like Mumbai, erratic work schedules and overactive lifestyles often lead to sleep deprivation for many. However, experts insist that sleeping well is of paramount importance to one’s overall well-being, and the advantages are several.

Time yourself

The amount of sleep needed by healthy individuals depends on their age. While infants require over 12-14 hours of sleep a day, adults need at least five hours of rest every night. “Seven hours is the ideal amount of time. The sleep pattern is also very important. A sound sleep is as integral as the amount of time spent sleeping,” says Dr Kalpana Sarangi, dermato-cosmetology consultant, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Vile Parle (W).

Help yourself

Experts feel that the ability to sleep well is one that needs to be cultivated. The first step to achieving this involves understanding one’s body and finding a pattern. “We all have an internal body clock, which is set by when we get and don’t get sunlight. This means, we are most alert during the day and most tired between midnight and dawn. A lot of what you need to do to wake up on time starts by planning your sleep schedule the day and the evening before,” says Dr Vikas Agrawal, robotic ENT surgeon and sleep apnea expert, Asian Heart Institute, Bandra (E).

Some of the best natural aids for sleeping well include a stress-free mind, and a comfortable environment and lighting. Keeping your bedroom dark while you sleep is a great start because dimness signals the biological clock, telling it that it’s time to wind down.

A change in dietary habits also contributes to developing good sleeping habits. Limit your caffeine consumption to afternoons and evenings. Dark chocolates and cocoa are also sources of caffeine. Avoid heavy or spicy meals, and refrain from watching disturbing visuals right before bedtime.

If you sleep well…
*Your blood circulation becomes better
*Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) improves, which is beneficial for weight management
*Hormonal and enzyme secretion is normalised
*Digestion, secretion and excretion are harmonised
*The eyes look brighter, and puffiness, lines, pigmentation and dark circles reduce
*The breakdown of skin collagen reduces, making your skin glow
*Deep sleep also induces the growth hormones to repair skin damage, delaying the signs of ageing
*Skin conditions like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis stay in control.

Sleep hacks

A gentle head or body oil massage increases the blood circulation and soothes the peripheral nerve endings. It helps you relax and fall asleep in case you have missed out on sleeping a lot lately.If your profession requires you to travel often, cultivate the habit of taking power naps. They go a long way in helping your body recuperate from sleep deprivation. But remember, they cannot replace a good night’s sleep.

Our eyes only get rest when we are asleep. They are lubricated and nourished during those hours of rest.

With inputs from Dr Madhuri Agarwal, consultant dermatologist and aesthetic physician, Yavana Aesthetic Clinic, Mulund (W); Dr Behram Pardiwala, internal medicines consultant, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central; Dr Nishant Kumar, consultant ophthalmologist, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, Khar (W); Dr Rajiv Joshi, senior consultant in dermatology, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, Khar (W).

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