The Magic Power of Sleep

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on  January 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM Lifestyle and Wellness
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With busy schedules and obsession with work, millions of Indians today are chronically sleep deprived. Even children and teens are affected, who stay up late nights partying or engaged in endless social networking. The 24/7 schedule has now slowly seeped into our daily lives, putting a serious impact on our overall health and even possibly affecting our lifespan.
The Magic Power of Sleep
The Magic Power of Sleep

Read on to find out why getting the 8 hours of relaxed sleep should be your "Number One" priority.

Plus happiness, minus sadness: Around 10% of the world's population suffers from insomnia, and the numbers are rapidly increasing each day. The lesser you sleep, the more you tend to be stressed; the more the stress levels, the more the chances of you getting affected by insomnia. It can be hard to get out of this vicious cycle, but thanks to the number of new cutting-edge technologies and treatments available, it is now easy to control insomnia and get those hours of relaxed sleep you truly deserve.

Higher stress levels can affect mood and can severely impact social situations, affecting relationships and even workplace success.

Boost brain power: Sleep deprivation doesn't merely affect your physical state; it also hampers mental well-being. Getting less sleep can affect your problem-solving skills, concentration and memory power. Chronic sleep deprivation can put a serious impact on your mental health and promote brain ageing, ultimately leading to a number of psychological ailments.

What's surprising is that sleep deprivation can have the same effects on your mental state as overindulging in alcohol. Dr Gerard Lombardo, the director of the Sleep Disorders Center in New York rated the performance of individuals who had been awake for 17 hours straight and found it amazingly similar to those who indulged in 2 drinks an hour.

Shed a few kilos: Sleep deprivation is associated with a decrease in metabolism and an increase in appetite; no wonder getting less sleep is directly linked to obesity. Michael Breus, author of 'Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health' explains that inadequate sleep increases the levels of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry and decreases the levels of leptin, the hormone which causes you to feel full.

What's even more interesting is that sleep deprivation affects the choices of food we take through the day. Inadequate sleep causes you to crave for sugar-loaded foods and carbohydrates. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to decreased insulin sensitivity, putting you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Look and feel better: Headaches, stomach problems and speedy ageing process are common among people who manage with 4-5 hours of sleep. Uninterrupted sleep, on the contrary, can improve muscle tone, get you more oxygen and even enhance your skin health. This explains why you look terrible when you are sleep deprived.

Also, growth hormone levels tend to stay normal during sleep, which plays a vital role in maintaining optimum health, slowing down ageing and reviving your sex drive.

Live longer and healthier: The author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night's Sleep, Dr Lawrence Epstein states that the link between less sleep and health issues is getting clearer than ever before. Statistically, around 29% of Indians get to bed only after midnight, and around 61% Indians are sleep-deprived.

Also, people who sleep less are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and related problems. This is simply because blood pressure and heart rates are the lowest during sleep. Furthermore, many research findings clearly link the lack of sleep to elevated blood pressure levels, weight gain, heart attacks and even diabetes. Sleep deprived people tend to have higher levels of stress hormones in their blood which hamper immune function; a good night's sleep, on the other hand, seems to improve the chances of a flu shot working to its optimum level. Needless to say, people who sleep longer live longer and better lives.

How much is enough?

Though the widespread belief that 8 hours of sleep is enough for an adult individual holds true for a majority of people, studies from the new Washington State University suggest that the amount of sleep required by a person is largely dependent on his/her genetic constitution.

This is clearly the reason why some people seem to get all the sleep in the world but still wake up feeling tired and drowsy, while some others manage wonderfully with just a few hours of sleep.

Source: Medindia

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