Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Are you getting enough sound sleep?

As per the definition of oxford English dictionary sleep is state of rest in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes are closed, the muscles are relaxed and the mind is unconscious. Though sleep pattern varies as per the age, 7 to 8 1/2 hours of sleep pattern is ideal for adults. Infants sleep throughout the day and night with some intervals, while kids prefer 10 to 14 hours of sleep. Adequate sleep is utmost important to keep oneself healthy. Research has shown there is a peak in the level of growth hormone in the initial hours of sleep. In adults this hormone involved with cell repair and so maintains health of skin, bones and muscles. Insufficient amount of sleep could trigger sleep disorders which makes it clear that sleep deprivation is the root cause of such ill effects.

The hectic city life, long working hours, family responsibilities and busy social life makes it hard to get sufficient and sound sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to various health problems. Insomnia is the major disorder which disturbs regular sleeping pattern and difficulty to getting to sleep. Insomniacs mostly fall asleep with ease but they awake in midnights and then find it hard to get back to sleep. At some point of time everyone experiences sleepless nights. Transient insomnia which lasts for short period is the result of stress and long travel. On the other hand, long term insomnia which lasts for three weeks or more has many possible causes- noise, night shift work, chronic pain or disease, drug or alcohol abuse, depression or other psychological problems, overuse of caffeine or abuse of sleeping pills.

Insomnia can take place due to emotional disturbances due to various reasons such as worries about money or a job, marital problem, death of loved one or serious health problems.

Therapies like psychotherapy, aromatherapy, meditation & deep breathing and hydrotherapy (use of liquid to cure insomnia i.e., taking warm water bath before bed time or sipping warm milk) are applied to cure insomnia. Counseling can also help to cure insomnia which is occurred due to emotional reasons.

‘Do’s & Don’ts’

Take light exercise few hours before going to bed

Get up at the same time every day including weekends

Bedroom should be comfortable, not too hot not too cold with minimal light

Hot cup of milk works as a booster to get into a sleep

Avoid drinking coffee just before going to bed

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