Importance of Sleep

If you think that sleep is just a period of inactivity, think again. Our nightly shut-eye allows our brains to consolidate our learning and memory so we can perform tasks better the next day. When we have enough sleep, we are less likely to overeat and crave junk, and we make wiser food choices. We're burning fat more effectively and our factory of muscles is in full swing — burning up the calories we consume and the energy that's stored as fat in our bodies.

If you’ve ever been sleep deprived, you would have noticed your inability to concentrate, slow responses, impulsive decision-making and even felt easily annoyed or depressed. Not to forget those dark eye circles that refuse to budge.

Perhaps sleeping in on the weekends could make you feel better, but what’s lost is lost. Two days of better rest cannot compensate for a week’s worth of impaired performance.

Related: Sleep Well, Live Better

What is considered good sleep?

The quantity and quality of sleep determine whether you wake up feeling energized or like a walking zombie. 

Related: Are You Getting Quality Sleep?

Do's

Sleep for at least 7 Hours Daily

Depending on your age, the optimal sleep duration varies. 

Create a Consistent Sleep Pattern

Try to sleep and wake up at the same time each day to improve the overall quality of sleep in the long run.

Bask in the Sun a Little

Exposure to daylight controls the melatonin levels in your body. This sets your body clock and ensures that you’re awake during the day and sleepy at night.

Get Active

Exercise allows for a night of better rest.

Follow a Bedtime Routine

Wind down from the chaos of the day by calming your senses. Grab a book, take a warm bath, or listen to soothing music.

Get Comfy

When you’re spending one-third of your life in bed, it’s worthy to invest in a good pillow and mattress to help you sleep well.

Related: Sweet Dreams are Made of These

Practise good sleep hygiene

Another good habit to build is to practise good sleep hygiene. That means no working, reading, or watching TV in bed. To get better sleep, let's use our bed for its intended purposes only.

Related: Sleep Deprivation

Practise mindfulness to clear your mind

Practising mindfulness just before bed to relax and clear our heads also helps, especially when our minds are racing. Practising this regularly also helps us fight insomnia and fatigue — giving us the energy we need to work out and keep fit.

Related: Mindful about Mindfulness


Don'ts

Avoid Starving or Heavy Meals Before Sleep

It’s hard to sleep when your stomach is rumbling or gorged. Eat a couple of hours before sleep, or have a glass of milk before heading to bed. A big dinner may cause heartburn and discomfort, keeping us wide awake. Also, avoid satiating hunger pangs before bed with large meals. Instead, have a light and healthy snack like low-fat yoghurt, a cup of milk, or a serving of fruit. 

Don’t Catch Too Much Winks in the Day

Napping messes with your sleep schedule, making it difficult to sleep at night.

If You are Wide Awake, Don’t Force it

The anxiety of not falling asleep makes sleeping harder. Get up and do something relaxing (e.g. read a book, meditate or listen to music) till you feel tired enough.

Avoid Caffeine or Alcohol Before Bedtime

There’s a reason why we drink coffee in the morning – it promotes wakefulness. While alcohol may make you drowsy, it impacts the quality of sleep.

Eliminate Distractors from the Bedroom

Before you go to bed, try not to use your phone, laptop, and other electronic devices. Using these electronics not only defer your sleep, but also emit blue light that delays the release of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Related: 9 Health Hazards of Electronic Devices for Kids



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