The most underestimated and ignored nutrient in our body is sleep. A night of sound sleep can do wonders no amount of massage and spas could do. While restless sleep was a problem earlier faced only by elderlies and new parents, it is now faced by all age groups. Be it school, college, or work everyone faces a certain amount of stress. By that extension a disturbed sleep.
Quality of Sleep
‘Morning grumpiness’ or ‘being a morning grouch’ have become common phrases today, even after full eight hours of sleep. This is not because we didn’t sleep enough or we are yet to catch up on our week’s sleep but because of the poor quality of the sleep. A night of good relaxing sleep can be of just 3-4 hours and yet make a person feel refreshed and energized.
Ever wondered why those 15-20 minutes of power naps are so effective? This is because the quality of sleep is very good and hence results in a completely rested mind in very small sleep time. The results are a much more productive work and a fresh mind. Hence, not only the duration but the quality of stress also matters.
How to get quality sleep?
Now that we have established that, we require good quality sleep the question remains. How to achieve it outside of power naps? We often tend to compartmentalize our feelings and thoughts during the day. When going to bed at night, our mind gets flooded with these things which we have pushed at the back of our mind. With this increased brain activity, we lay awake in bed thinking about anything but getting rest. Instead one could try to meditate before going to bed which would help in relaxing, slowing down the mind. Going to sleep with a clear mind will ensure a night of deep undisturbed sleep. It is usually our lingering thoughts that tend to seep into our dreams, causing unrest.
Many have a practice of reading a few pages of any book before they go to bed. This can also help as reading a book can help in relaxing your mind. It would help you take your mind off of unnecessary thoughts.
Signs of insufficient sleep
While reading the above paragraphs you may start to feel if you are getting enough sleep. How do you know?
A common change in the diet of people getting insufficient sleep is craving for junk food and caffeine. Coffee helps us deal with the drowsiness we feel when we don’t sleep very well. An effective but down the road an unhealthy habit. Skin becomes dull and dark circles are developed below the eyes. A gradual weight loss despite exercises and diet plans is noticed. Getting easily irritated at trivial things is also a sign of poor sleep. One tends to become moody when not getting enough sleep. The hormone imbalance caused due to poor sleep plays a big role in volatile behavior.
Why do we need a good night's rest?
This question is well answered by the proverb ‘A healthy mind lives in a healthy body’. The health of the mind and body are more interlinked than we realize. While we maintain diets, go to the gym, or engage in sports activities to maintain a healthy body, the mind is unknowingly ignored. For the mind to stay healthy, meditation is widely suggested but it is not something everyone can be good at. What everyone is good at though is sleeping.
A sound sleep is no less effective than meditation. Sleep can help in the growth and repair of our body as well. While you sleep your body works to heal the wear and tear inflicted during the day on both your mind and body. It also helps in improving your memory. With a well-rested mind, your overall productivity and creativity are improved, ensuring good progress in your work. Poor sleep can also result in weight gain and affect the hormone levels of your body. Even gym trainers suggest having a good sleep on the day you undertake a heavy workout yourself. It helps with mending your sore muscles.
Sleeping well helps in cleaning up your mind. Throughout the day, the brain collects a lot of unnecessary details that need to be removed. Unless they are removed or refined you might forget important things that matter. Sleeping well ensures that these unnecessary details are removed. Sleeping helps staying focused and improves memory.
Sleeping well seems like an easily achievable goal but not everyone achieves it. The reason for this maybe not being able to pinpoint your problem. The reason why you cannot sleep well is unclear to you. Many mental health problems go unnoticed because one does not realize they are suffering from any. Ignorance may be bliss in some cases but not when it is your mental health.
While mental health care may seem very tedious most of the problems could easily get solved by a good night’s sleep. Discussing your experiences and troubles helps in moving towards getting better. Talking to a specialist may help a great deal if you feel no one could understand you. It would help you to not only set a sleep schedule but also avoid many health problems arising due to poor sleep.
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