Sleep is a natural and imperative state of rest in which the body’s systems and functions slow down or become inactive. Even though sleep is not necessarily ignored, but it can be undervalued or overlooked by many individuals. Some people don’t fully understand the importance of sleep and its impact on health and wellbeing due to lack of awareness. Also in today’s hectic lifestyles, many people prioritize work, family, and social responsibilities over getting enough sleep. The proliferation of electronic devices and 24/7 access to information and entertainment can disrupt sleeping patterns. Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnea can make it difficult for some people to sleep. Mental health can affect the quality and quantity of sleep, leading to a vicious cycle of poor sleep and increased stress. It’s important to identify the importance of sleep and make it a priority in your life. There are different stages of sleep characterized by several brain waves patterns and physiological changes. These stages includes light sleep, deep sleep, and dream-related REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Here, why sleep is important to overall health and well-being:-
Sleep improves immunity- Sleep plays a vital role in regulating the immune system. During sleep, the body releases cytokines, proteins that help fight infection, inflammation, and stress. These cytokines are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system and are released in large amounts during deep sleep. On the other hand, lack of sleep or sleep deprivation weakens the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours are more susceptible to infections, such as colds and flu. Chronic sleep deprivation is also linked to the development of chronic health problems, such as diabetes, heart issues, and obesity. This is because lack of sleep can unbalance the hormones that control metabolism, leading to inflammation and insulin resistance. Getting a good night sleep, supports both innate and adaptive immune responses in our body, leads to less severe allergic reactions and efficient response to vaccines as well. In short, enough sleep is essential for maintaining a strong and healthy immune system.
Sleep aids in digestion-
Sleep and digestion are two important bodily functions that are closely related to each other. Digestion is the process of breaking down food into small molecules that can be absorbed by the body and used for energy and other functions. Sleep, on the other hand, is a state of rest and recovery in which the body repair and recharge. There are many ways sleep affect digestion. During sleep, digestive process slow down along with the body’s metabolism. This means that the process of breaking down food and absorbing nutrients also slows down.
Disrupted sleep can lead to many digestive problems. Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation can disrupt the hormones that control appetite, digestion, and metabolism, leading to digestive problems such as acid reflux, constipation, and diarrhoea. Sleep also affects population of good gut bacteria. Studies have shown that sleep can have a significant impact on the composition and diversity of the gut microbiome, which plays an important part in digestion and overall health. Adequate quality sleep is generally important for maintaining good digestion. It is also important to ensure good digestion and restful sleep by adopting healthy eating habits such as eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and avoiding overeating or drinking before bed.
Sleep enhances productivity-
Sleep and productivity go hand in hand. Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining high levels of performance and productivity throughout the day. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can have several negative effects on cognition, including poor concentration, poor memory, poor alertness, and poor reaction times. A good night’s sleep improves cognitive performance, enhances creativity, and boost problem-solving skills. It can also help reduce stress, improve mood, improve general health, and have a positive effect on productivity. Adults are recommended getting 7-9 hours of sleep. However, the amount of sleep you need depends on factors such as your age, lifestyle, and individual sleep needs. To be more productive through sleeping, establish a regular sleep schedule, create a comfortable sleep environment, and avoid using electronic devices before bed. Also consider using relaxation techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises to reduce stress and ensure restful sleep.
For your sleep quality, limit Blue light Exposure because Blue light from electronic gadgets can interfere with the natural production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Limit exposure to electronic devices such as phones and computers at least 1hour before going to bed. Indulge in some low stimulating activity like reading, writing a journal or spending time with your family before hitting the bed. You also try doing few relaxing asanas like Vajrasana, Yashtikasana, Viparitkarni, Supta bhadrasana, Dhradasana that will help you sleep better, just before your sleep time. Also, don’t drink liquids before bedtime. Drinking fluids before bed can lead to frequent trips to the bathroom during the night, disrupting sleep. It’s best to stop drinking fluids at least an hour before bedtime and empty your bladder before sleeping. Though getting enough sleep is important, but too much sleep can disrupt sleep patterns and make it harder to fall asleep at night. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night and wake up at the same time every day.
Now that you know the importance of sleep in your life, prioritize sleep as any other essential activity for the survival for a healthy life and get your daily dose of revival and recharge.