The sun rises and you’re still exhausted, desperate for that daily dose of caffeine to awaken your mind so that it may catch up to your body that has already risen from its slumber, and this is all thanks to the lack of shut eye received the night before caused from binge watching on your favourite show.
But the effects of being sleep deprived go far beyond a groggy start to a day of poor performance and productivity, recent studies have revealed the association of poor sleep to a wide range of disorders ranging from weight gain to Alzheimer’s. Moreover, your chances and the rate at which you recover from pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. significantly worsen if there is an underlying sleep disorder. Are you feeling fatigue throughout the day? then it’s best to seek a medical professional’s help as sleep disorders are generally silent despite the severity of the damage they cause to organ function.
On the other hand, sleeping is the closest thing we have to a magic pill that can improve our overall health drastically without literally doing anything at all and not to mention it’s free!
For starters sleep improves our cognitive performance: meaning it will now be much easier to remember your wedding anniversary, or that it’s time to pay your bills as well as focus through life’s distractions including your partner’s constant nagging in ensuring that you get everything on the grocery list right the first time. Your immunity also gets stronger the better you doze, enabling you to fight viruses and germs like the common flu. Furthermore, regular and good sleeping habits help hormones like insulin which controls blood sugar and leptin which signals your brain that you are full to work much better and aids in reducing chances of weight gain and diabetes.
So what does it mean to actually sleep well? Most of us our well accustomed to the popular standard of eight hours but it’s the quality of sleep that should also be taken into consideration, as you will know when you are well rested when you feel refreshed, energised and ready to face the day’s tasks and challenges efficiently. Also of importance is not disrupting your circadian rhythm which is our body’s cyclical clock that regulates the intervals throughout the day for when to rest and when to be awake, for this it is our almost addictive nature towards our electronic devices that is to be blamed, as we are constantly ignoring our brains signal for dozing during the darker hours of the day as we continue scrolling.
Like diet and exercise, good quality sleep with a strong emphasis on the “quality” should also be given the same level of importance in being a factor towards our health and well-being and ignoring it would have serious consequences later on in life.