Sleep Your Way to Good Health

27 Feb, 2011  |  Written by  |  under Uncategorized

Some of us love to do it, others not so much; kids have to be forced to adhere to bedtimes, and most adults prefer to be night owls rather than early birds; and even though we tend to forgo it at times in the pursuit of work or leisure, there’s no doubting the fact that sleep is one of the most important factors that contribute to good health. There’s a reason why we spend most of the 24 hours in a day sleeping – six or more hours go to slumber for the average person, and that’s more time than we spend eating, working (at a stretch), or doing anything else – and that’s because without sleep, we would not be able to function effectively.

Sleep is the recharge that our internal batteries need when they’re worn down at the end of each day, and if we deny our body much-needed sleep, we pay the price sooner or later. That being said, there are rules that govern sleep and determine if it is good or bad for your body and health. So if you want to sleep your way to good health, here’s what you need to do:

  • Go to bed and wake up around the same times every night and morning.
  • Do not eat heavy meals two hours before your bedtime.
  • Don’t do anything stimulating to the senses – this makes you excited and you find it hard to fall asleep and sleep peacefully.
  • As much as possible, get your sleep during the night. If your job makes it hard to do so, create an environment that mimics the night by drawing all the shades, putting out any lights, minimizing the noise around you, and get at least six continuous hours of sleep. Also, create a routine that will send signals to your body that it’s time to go to sleep – like drinking a glass of milk, brushing your teeth, and doing something soothing like listening to soft music or reading a book before you drift off to sleep.
  • Avoid sleeping in the daytime (if you don’t work night shifts) unless they are power naps that last no more than 15 minutes. Siestas sound good, but they don’t make you very productive during the latter half of the day especially if you sleep very deeply and are groggy when you wake up.
  • If you suffer from insomnia for a few nights, don’t resort to sleeping pills. They only get you addicted to them and cause undesirable side effects too. Instead, try and find out why you’re finding it hard to sleep well. If it’s some problem at work or on the home front, force yourself to calm down and think of nothing before you go to sleep. Meditation and exercise help you sleep peacefully and deeply – one soothes the mind while the other tires your body.
  • Don’t use alcohol as an aid to help you sleep. It may knock you out, but it interferes with your regular sleep pattern and wakes you up at odd hours of the night.

Sleep is probably the panacea to cure all our ills – it prevents a host of illnesses and conditions ranging from heart disease to obesity; it improves concentration and efficiency; and it repairs your body and makes it as good as new to face the new day. So don’t skimp on this great blessing, unless you want to skimp on good health of course!