Sleep is a natural way through which all living beings restore and recuperate energy and strength lost as part of their daily activities. God has created days to carry out work and nights for rest. All animals and plants strictly adhere to this natural instinct. As soon as the sun sets, all animals return to their shelters to rest. Even plants also get into the sleeping mode.
This same natural attribute is gifted to humans as well, but they do not strictly practice it. As a result, people do not get required amount of sleep that is needed to stay healthy and productive.
What is sleep?
Scientifically, sleep is considered as a complicated process.
During sleeping, we are unconscious but our brain is working. Sleep consists of 5 stages that includes stage 1, 2, 3, 4 and rapid eye movement stage (REM). All these 5 stages are important for good sleep.
In addition to number of hours of sleep, it is also important to get good quality of sleep that would allow to have all 5 stages of sleep. Interruptions during sleep, do not allow to enjoy a good quality sleep.
Sleeping allows us to process new information, stay healthy and provide needed rest to essential body organs. In children, getting enough sleep also stimulates release of growth hormones which helps them to grow.
Factors and Consequences of insufficient sleep
Mostly, population in cities stay awake late in the nights and sleep until very late during the day. In Pakistan, most people in the cities do not get enough sleep due to long working hours until late in the evenings (late sittings), late night social programs and watching TV or working on computers.
When people are busy, the first thing they compromise is the amount of sleep. Some people unconsciously consider sleeping as time wasted.
People tend to forget, but sleeping for right amount of time regularly is vital to rejuvenate and refresh our body and mind.
Insufficient sleep on regular-basis affects our health in many ways. People who do not have enough sleep have higher risks of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and stroke. Some medical conditions and medicines also affect sleeping habits/patterns.
People who are sleep deprived are usually not very productive at work.
Maintaining a proper balance in sleeping and active life is very important.
Our body is programmed to perform self-healing to fix the damages and cope with deficiencies that occur as part of regular daily activities. Self-healing is mostly done while sleeping when least amount of energy is utilized.
During the sleep the heart rate slows down, the body temperature reduces and muscles & tissues start to relax. Naturally, the body carry out the repairs, restore energy and regrow tissues and cells to continue performing the required body functions.
Recommended hours of Sleep
Below are the recommended hours of sleep per day with respect to age
Children under 5 years should sleep for long enough time with good quality of sleep. Children who sleep well are generally healthy, gain weight and stay fresh when awake.
Especially, people who suffer with chronic disease (heart disease or stroke, diabetes and hypertension) should practice healthy sleeping habits on regular-basis.
Simple tips to improve quality of sleep
Discipline is very important, Improve sleeping habits
- Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time everyday
- Do not engage in late night social activities
- Start work early and finish early
- Do not watch TV or work on computers late night
- Do not eat heavy meals or caffeine drinks before the sleep
- Do not sleep right after having the dinner
Right amount of sleep is extremely important for our health and well being.