Social Diary has collaborated with a medical expert to allow our readers to connect and have their concerns answered over their wellness-mental and physical. This week:
Areeba Shameem Asks: How does the sleep cycle relate to your health?
Our habits usually define our lives. Our body responds according to the way that we treat it. If we exercise and eat healthy, our body remains more regulated and more productive. Similarly, when we maintain a healthy sleeping pattern, we’re likely to feel much better and active throughout our day. We all know the worth of a good night’s sleep. Nothing’s quite like it. Yet, very often, we survive on the minimum amount of sleep during our working week.
There are multiple reasons for this but the most important one that is sshared by the majority of people is that there is just not enough time! Before the day is done, it is already late night! That may be true, but it does not mean that we can continue to remain healthy with a ‘bare-minimum sleep’ lifestyle. Sleep is not something we should get to once everything else is done. It is an essential process that allows our body to heal and replenish so that we may continue with our daily activities.
When we go to sleep every night, our body winds down but our mind goes to work. It works on our experiences of the previous day, assesses and regulates hormones, and works on our mood and energy. The amount of time generally required for the brain to carry on this activity is 7 to 8 hours. Although every person’s sleep cycle is unique, a general rule of thumb is to ensure 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Any more or less can have significant repercussions if such a habit is maintained over longer periods of time.
That said, sleep hygiene requires commitment and discipline. In today’s world of gadgets and social media, gone are the days when activity would die down past sunset. Now, you have to only turn on your phone at night to be immersed into a world of bright lights, pleasant sounds, and heaps of content. Furthermore, the content is presented through customized algorithms and so what shows up on our screen is most likely to be something that we would be interested in. Once you watch something, another similar in nature is presented to you by social media and there is simply no end to it. You must decide yourself to put the phone aside. Many people associate time on social media with their time to sit and wind down. But the fact of the matter is that though it helps us relax, it just doesn’t allow us to disengage. There are many people losing healthy sleep hours because they are on their electronic devices at night. The most important thing is not just that you have to set aside 8 hours of sleep, it is also that you must create conditions so that you lie down and properly go to bed. This means that mental simulation at night is not recommended. Good sleep will help you be more active, present, focused, and in a better mood. Invest in your sleep and prepare for a healthy day.