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Just how much should you be sleeping every day? Should you get a good night's 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.
Sleep Well, Live Better
The quantity and quality of sleep determine whether you wake up feeling energized or like a walking zombie. So do yourself a favour and consider adopting the following practices:
Are You Getting Quality Sleep?
Depending on your age, the optimal sleep duration varies. But if you find yourself still in bed after 10 hours, you may have an underlying sleep problem.
Try to sleep and wake up at the same time each day to improve the overall quality of sleep in the long run.
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.
Exercise allows for a night of better rest.
Wind down from the chaos of the day by calming your senses. Grab a book, take a warm bath, or listen to soothing music. Ladies, now’s the time to put on your face mask.
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.
Sweet Dreams are Made of These
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
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
Exercise activates the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, keeping you unnecessarily awake at night.
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.
Napping messes with your sleep schedule, making it difficult to sleep at night.
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.
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.
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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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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Here are some simple ways for you to maintain your calorie intake.
Singapore’s schoolchildren have dedicated health resources to tap on. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) gives them ready access to medical and dental care.
Besides offering health screening and immunisation at school visits, HPB also conducts health education and health promotion programmes on healthy lifestyle practices.
HPB’s Student Health Centre, which generally provides preventive and screening services, follows up with the children referred from the school visits above.
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Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.