By Rohit Mohan Pugalia
No matter who you are or what you do, there is no denying that you need sleep! Nowadays though, sleep is usually seen more as a task or chore one needs to be done with rather than a powerful tool we need for survival and for being healthy. Apart from exercise and healthy eating habits such as Granola, sleep helps our overwell health and well-being.
Today, let’s see why we think sleep is the most underrated tool we humans have at our disposal.
First thing’s first. Why do we sleep? What exactly is the purpose? Well, there is no simple answer to this. Sleep is a biological function which supports various human needs but for starters, it is important to realise that there’s more to sleep than rest.
Although rest is at the core of why we sleep, important biological functions also take place when we sleep.
Contrary to popular belief, the body does not shut down all functions, in fact, a lot of mental and physical recovery happens while we’re in slumber. So, for a person who lives an active lifestyle, good quality sleep is essential for their body to adapt and a lack of sleep will make them unable to perform at their best.
According to researchers, less sleep is directly related to a shorter lifespan. Not only that but the effects of low sleep also have short-term effects on the body and may leave it open to diseases and disorders.
Caffeine is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to disrupting sleep in the modern world. Even when people stop feeling the effects of caffeine hours before bed, they can still have overall low sleep quality due to the caffeine still present in the body.
Some people may be able to metabolise and get rid of the caffeine in their body faster than others but that ability usually gets lower as we age.
Along with coffee, alcohol is a big disruptor of sleep as well. Neuroscientist Mathew Walker in his book ‘Why We Sleep’ mentions how even though alcohol may relax people as a sedative, it still reduces the quality of sleep and sedation is not necessarily the same as sleep.
Lesser-known sleep benefits
People in some high-performance careers choose to work over sleep but if they knew the benefits they’re losing out on, they would probably rethink it.
Good quality sleep is known to boost productivity. Being well-slept increases one’s ability to pay attention, and be creative and helps with memory as well.
Like the multifaceted benefits of granola, sleep too plays an important role in various capacities which shouldn’t be overlooked.
Alternative to sleeping pills
You may be one of those people who might find it harder than others to get yourself to bed. How are you going to help yourself in this case?
Well, for most people, just like alcohol, sleeping pills might feel great but apart from sedating you, they might not help with sleep quality.
Experts usually recommend alternatives to sleeping pills which have proven to be helpful to many:
- Chamomile and relaxing teas: Relaxing teas made from chamomile flowers or lavender have a soothing effect on the body. They reduce anxiety and stress which helps people fall asleep faster.
- Melatonin supplement: Melatonin is a hormone which helps with the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is produced by the body but as we age its production may become lower. Irregular sleep patterns also affect its production. People who take melatonin as a supplement find success in fixing their sleep schedule. Melatonin is also considered safe by the experts and doesn’t have long or short-term side effects.
- Sleep hygiene: The most overlooked of all the techniques to fall asleep quicker may be sleep hygiene. Blue light signals the body to wake up in the morning and also signals bodily processes but when we consume too much blue light through lights and screens, it confuses the processes in the body and may make falling asleep harder. So, it is important that we limit blue light exposure through night mode settings found on our devices or by using anti-blue light glasses. Furthermore, meditation and breathing techniques may also help calm the body down to help fall asleep faster.
- Lowering the temperature: The body feels more at rest and primed to fall asleep when the temperature is optimal, so tricks such as taking a hot shower followed by sleeping in a cold room may also drastically increase your chances of falling asleep quicker.
(The author is Co-Founder of The Rooted Co. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)