Are you sleeping on time? If not, here’s why you should

You may find this surprising but the body is naturally set to go along with day and night patterns and adopts sleep timings basis the circadian rhythm which aligns itself with presence and absence of sunlight.

Adequate sleep is extremely essential, and many studies have linked poor sleep patterns with varied health problems ranging from weight gain to a weakened immune system. It has been observed that inadequate and improper sleep has a very strong relationship with loss of productivity, hypertension, stress, and even depression. Which is why, if you have not had enough hours of sleep in a day, your body and brain do not function properly. Which is why, it is essential to stick to a healthy sleep routine.

But it is not only about just sleeping — the time at which you sleep and wake up is also important. “You may find this surprising but our body is naturally set to go along with day and night patterns. Our body adopts sleep timings basis the circadian rhythm which aligns itself with presence and absence of light (sunlight). When one wakes up in the morning, the body is exposed to sunlight which transmits a signal to the rest of the body stimulating metabolism, and with the onset of sunset, the melatonin levels increase, thereby aiding and assisting better sleep,” says Dr Paritosh Baghel, consultant physician & specialist-Internal Medicine, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim – A Fortis Associate

He suggests the ideal sleeping time to be 10 pm, and waking-up time as 6 am (broadly in sync with sunrise and sunset). “We sleep the soundest between 2 am and 4 am, so ensuring that you sleep well within time is important. However, if you don’t manage to sleep at an appropriate hour, you will have the urge to sleep between 1 pm to 3 pm, impacting your work during daytime,” he adds.

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Below he shares a few essential things you must know.

How is the body impacted if you don’t get adequate sleep?

*Memory: Studies show that people who slept after learning a task/ memorising study material did better in exams. Sleep helps the brain retain new information through ‘memory consolidation’.

*Weight gain: Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation or being habituated to delayed sleep may cause weight gain by altering our metabolism and hormones levels, thereby impacting our appetite.

*Drop in productivity: Sleep deprivation leads to drastic drop in productivity, increasing our tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. This may cause falls, medical errors, air mishaps, and road accidents.

*Mental impact: Inadequate sleep may result in irritability, impatience and loss of focus. One will also be chronically fatigued if they are sleep deprived.

*Physical impact: Sleep deprivation alters our immune function, so our capability of fighting infections and illnesses, is impacted.

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Here’s how to ensure better sleep:

*Morning workouts help one feel more energetic and remain productive throughout the day

*Monitor your sleeping time — if you have to wake up at 6am then you should sleep by 10pm

*Have at least 1.5-2 hour gap between dinner and sleep time; heavy meals should be avoided in the night

*Refrain from using electronic devices right before getting into the bed

*Adults should try and sleep for minimum of 7-8 hours

*Don’t sleep in the afternoon for longer duration

*Even if you have timelines to meet, don’t delay your sleep time beyond 12 midnight; it may cause depression in some people

“Inadequate and inappropriate sleep is now one of the top-most significant lifestyle maladies, across age groups. It is advisable that one should aim for quality sleep to lead a healthy lifestyle,” says Dr Baghel.

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