With the increasing pace of our lives, the amount of burden is also increasing. From dawn to dusk we are engrossed in various types of activities or jobs. But amidst all this, how well we feed our physical and mental health is something extremely important. Along with the duty of fulfilling our other responsibilities of work and home, there lies a special responsibility we all have towards ourselves i.e the responsibility of taking care of ourselves. Taking care means having nutritious food, exercising well, visiting the doctor frequently, looking after one’s mental health and also having proper sleep.
Among all the problems faced by people today, sleep-related problems are very common. Sleep is a vital yet often neglected component of everyone’s overall health and well-being.
WHAT IS A SLEEP CYCLE?
Sleep is a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, consciousness practically suspended. While the sleep requirements vary from individual to individual, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens may even need more. While older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill the gap. This sleep cycle is one of the necessities of overall physical as well as mental well-being.
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
Sleep isn’t merely the period when your body shuts off. While you sleep, your body prepares itself for the next day. Quality of one’s sleep directly affects the quality of productivity, psychological balance, the functioning of the heart, brain, immune system, level of creative vitality and even body weight. It is evident from the fact that the day when we have enough sleep period, we can much more than normal days i.e context to our productivity, energy, alertness as well as mood.
Sleep deficits are at risk of suffering from hormonal imbalance, heart diseases, appetite issues, higher sugar level, weak immune system and also some kind of sleeping disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, sleepwalking, etc.
Healthy sleep and positive thinking share a directly proportional relationship i.e when the amount of healthy sleep increases the number of positivity increases as well or vice-versa. Getting healthy sleep plays a vital role in determining as well as improving our attitude towards daily happenings. Similarly, sleeping well improves our mood and promotes positive thoughts. Thinking about good things before sleeping helps in having sound sleep and improves sleeping patterns and also benefitting long-term mental health.
WAYS TO ACHIEVE A HEALTHY SLEEP CYCLE
- Set a bedtime routine: Set a timetable for all your activities which also fulfills your sleep need of at least 7 hours. Deciding the time of going to bed, waking up and following it consistently would help in achieving a healthy sleep cycle.
- Maintaining sleep schedule: Being able to modify your schedule as per your requirements and also not sacrificing sleep in between is important. This can be done by taking a daytime nap if not able to sleep well at night because of any reason.
- Avoiding too long daytime naps: Sleeping for more than 1 or 2 hours in the daytime would disturb the sleeping pattern at night. One should avoid doing so.
- A healthy diet for healthy sleep: Taking care of the food you intake before sleeping may also affect a healthy sleep period. One should not intake alcohol or caffeine as it may deprive or interfere with one’s sleep. Taking a balanced diet every day would also help..
- Exercising: One should also not exercise before sleeping. On the other hand, one should exercise once in a whole day to avoid body and muscle issues. A fit and tired body helps in having sound sleep.
- Meditation and yoga: Meditation, yoga and deep breathing provide one with the feeling of relaxation and peace. It also devoids one of stress going on in life for at least some time. Meditating before sleeping contributes to the completion of a healthy sleep cycle.
- Decluttering of mind: Before sleeping, one should clear one’s mind of all negative thoughts and stressors. Tensions or fears do not let one sleep peacefully. Thus one needs to clear the mind of unnecessary thoughts at least before sleeping.
- Setting the sleep environment: Once you are ready to sleep, you should make sure that the sleep environment i.e your room, your bed should be comfortable and not disturbing. They help one in sleeping peacefully and completing the sleep cycle without breaks.
- Good bedtime habits: Good bedtime habits such as brushing your teeth before sleep, changing uncomfortable clothes, cleaning your bed and checking the lights would add on to your good sleep schedule.
- Visiting a doctor: In severe cases, where one is not able to sleep well even after trying all measures, one should visit a doctor or psychiatrist. Doctors would help in knowing the reason behind the same and also let one know if there’s a complaint of any type of sleeping disorder.
However, having a healthy sleep cycle depends to a very large extent upon one’s mental and physical status i.e if the body and mind are fit then only one can sleep well. Other trivial problems can surely be handled with proper care and management.
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