Dr Sugata Pyne – Manager, Smart Metabolic Anti Aging Centre
Did you know that the human body, under normal conditions, can live for more than 3 weeks without food, and a week without water? But even 24 hours without sleep results in significant performance impairment. And when the sleepless phase extends beyond 36, 48 and 72 hours, the body and mind begin to function in abnormal state that may even result in death?
According to a sleep survey, about 93% of Indians are sleep deprived. Literally losing their sleep to pains and aches, skin ailments, gut problems, stress, psychiatric disorders, medical disorders, addictions, environmental factors etc.
If you are one of the lucky ones getting the optimum 8 hours of sleep a day, the focus shifts to the quality of sleep. Broken sleep, light sleep or delayed sleep are all indicative of a ‘poor quality’ sleep. Sleep patterns are largely divided into two categories – and while both of them are important, your body needs one type of sleep more than the other.
Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) Sleep
When you sleep but you don’t dream. This is the state your body is most relaxed in, NREM is great for restoring body energy, healing wounds, building immunity, relaxing muscles and developing the brain.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep
Commonly known as the ‘dream state’, this is the time when your brain is acutely active while you sleep. This type of sleep acts like an internal stimulus that assists in processing memories and building new skills.
Can you sleep better?
Yes! Life might give you a 1000 reasons to lose sleep but your health is the one reason you shouldn’t. And health is wealth!
– Block out the light: Humans have an inbuilt mechanism that helps them distinguish between night and day. This biological clock called the circadian rhythm releases melatonin – the sleep hormone to help you sleep at night. Bright lights, in room TVs, handheld devices like tablets, watches, and phones hamper the production of melatonin. So turn off the lights, switch to night mode on your devices and use blackout curtains.
– Read: Reading at bedtime lulls you into a comfortable mental state, making the transition to sleep easier.
– Avoid afternoon naps: Daytime ‘power’ naps are said to be productivity boosters. But too much power can be counterproductive as they disrupt the night sleep pattern. If you can sleep during the day (I wonder who does!) – time your nap to a maximum of 20 minutes.
– Melatonin supplements: Optional. But if you are using melatonin, please do so under the guidance of a functional medicine expert at Smart Metabolic Anti-Aging Centre.
– Sleep Schedule: Get your body in the habit of sleeping at a particular time. It will stop caring about the amount of work or stress you have!
– Exercise: Regular exercise in proper manner help improve sleep.
– Bedroom noise and temperature: Adjust your room temperature to a level where you neither feel too hot or cold. And cut down on the surrounding noise level as much as you can.
– Food: Avoid alcohol, stimulants like caffeine, nicotine and heavy meals in the evening which can cause indigestion and flatulence. Follow the Ayurveda rule to night meals – light and a couple of hours before bedtime.