Importance of Sleep for optimal health & wellbeing

Are you one of those who battle with sleep every night? Or are you in the ranks of the fortunate, who knows the importance of sleep and has befriend sleep, having it grace you with it’s presence naturally, the moment you hit the bed? Meet Dr. Manvir Bhatia – Sleep Specialist at TheOmniLife to help ease your sleep issues.

Importance of Sleep

We live in a world that is catastrophically deprived of sleep. Everyone seems to be rushing through life, and in this fast-paced environment, many of us forgo much-needed rest to catch up on work and other priorities. Our body is like a bio-computer and just like a computer, our brain needs time to wind down and relax.  In earlier times, weekends were rest days to rejuvenate and prepare for the coming week. However, nowadays we make multiple plans to fill our days of supposed repose. We categorically refuse to accept rest.  

In addition to this, many of us induce sleep artificially with the help of sleeping pills, alcohol, and caffeine without realising the addictions we foster, and their detrimental impact on our health and well-being. By understanding the Importance of sleep we can develop selfcare protocols that will help us get good quality sleep, naturally.

Our mind and body constantly burn energy through the consumption of food, oxygen, sound, light, and information. In fact, we often over-consume, owing particularly to light. Specifically, artificial light, which does not allow us to unwind and sleep at night. 

According to research, people who are short sleepers are at a 50% higher risk of getting viral infections. Hence, it is absolutely crucial to maintain and indulge in the practice of ‘quality sleep’ for optimal health and well-being.

Critical activities during sleep

  • Ayurveda clearly mentions the importance of sleep and highlights that our internal organs rest and recover when we are sleeping.  As per Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems, dating back to more than 5000 years in India, 10 pm is the ideal time to go to bed, to aid the repair process. From 10pm to 2am, our liver repairs, so we should be at rest then, in-order to heal. Ayurveda has prescribed an ideal daily routine which is called ‘The Ayurvedic Clock’ which not only helps us restore balance in our life but also improves our health. Please read our blog on this topic for more details.
  • Hormones that regulate our appetite control, stress, growth metabolism and other bodily functions are released when we are in sleep mode.
  • Memory consolidation occurs, allowing for the formation and storage of new memories, which is essential for learning new things.

Benefits of quality sleep 

  • Increased energy to make beneficial lifestyle choices 
  • Improved concentration and productivity
  • Strong immune system
  • Improved mental health
  • Increased alertness, focus and creativity
  • Lower weight gain risk

How to improve quality of our sleep

There are so many factors that affect both the quantity and quality of your sleep.  Let’s look at these in details – 

1. Nutrition 

Do our eating habits impact our sleep? Do our sleeping habits impact eating, metabolism, and weight?

Yes, there is a direct relationship at play here. Digestion plays an important role in sleep quality as it requires a lot of energy to digest meals. When a large meal is consumed at night, it affects our body’s ability to rest as it is busy digesting food instead. 

The Importance of Sleep is such that in a study done on children and adults with lower sleeping hours, it was found that they were 89% and 55% more likely to develop obesity, respectively.

Here are a few tips to help you sleep better in relation to Nutrition –

  • Maintain a diary, jotting down what you do during the day, what you eat before sleeping (like a high carb/high protein dinner, or eating a lot of artificial, chemical-filled junk food), etc. This all interferes with sleep. 
  • Eat a variety of whole foods and limit sugar and caffeine intake.
  • Eat a light meal in the evening and avoid late night snacking.

2. Environment

The environment in which we sleep is also very important for both quantity & quality of sleep.

Here are a few tips to help you organise your environment to sleep better –

  • It is advisable to turn off all the blue screens at-least an hour before sleeping and as it negatively affects our health and sleep patterns.
  • Create a dedicated place for your devices and electronics – Sounds and blinking lights can cause unwanted awakenings when sleeping next to electronics, so keep them away.
  • Clean out the clutter from your bedroom and make it more organized for a sound sleep.
  • Don’t take your work to bed, finish it before.
  • Limit your exposure to light and sound by investing in thick curtains to keep the light out of your room or explore options like eye masks, headbands, etc. 
  • Create a bedtime routine – fix your time to go to bed and to wake up.

Wrapping up – Importance of Sleep

‘It is important to know how to stop the car before it hits the garage’.

It is high time we renegotiated our relationship with sleep. We must learn to love our down-time and relinquish our servitude to the over stimulation of our waking hours. Be mindful of what you carry with you to bed, be it the stresses of your workday or the complicated issues and emotions that are part and parcel of our turbulent times. Leave them at the bedroom door and reap the benefits of an enriching and peaceful sleep. 

References –

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