Neuroscience of Sleep | Aster Medcity, India & Dubai

Wake Up To The Need For Sleep

Sleep, contrary to what most of us think, is a highly active time for our bodies – that’s when it repairs, restores and strengthens itself and processes all the information into stacks and stacks of memories. Though researchers are yet to fully understand the critical functions of sleep and why our bodies are naturally programmed to go into deep slumber for long hours, one thing that has been proven beyond doubt is that we need sleep to stay healthy.

Though everyone needs good sleep irrespective what age they are, children need more sleep than adults as they are still in the process of growing, developing and learning. While adults need 6-8 hours of sleep every night, children need 9 to 11 hours and teenagers - 8 to 10 hours .

Sleep Works Like Magic

A good night’s sleep renews your body every day. You require long hours of sleep to allow your body to restore its balance, repair tissue, synthesise and release hormones, grow muscle and strengthen the immune system.

The other vital function of sleep is processing all the information we acquire through the day. Our brain is undoubtedly the world’s powerful supercomputer, which takes in an incredible amount of information in the form of sight, sounds, smells, emotions and experiences. When we sleep, our body gets into a high-efficiency sorting and storing mode, by processing and segregating all the information into short-term and long-term memory stacks. This amazing process is called consolidation. Researches have proven that people who sleep well can retain information better, perform better on memory tasks and are more attentive/ alert, compared to those with sleep-deficit.

Sleep works wonders on your mental wellbeing as well, by making you calmer, peaceful, organised, attentive and alert.

No Sleep? This Is What You Are Doing To Your Body

Depriving your body of sleep is deliberately making yourself prone to serious health problems, especially neurological complications. Sleep-deficiency can lead to a multitude of health problems and even affect your mental wellbeing.

You can’t keep on going without sleep for days and compensate by sleeping for many hours when time allows – it just doesn’t work that way. You need to sleep well every night and inculcate a consistent, healthy sleeping habit if you need to stay healthy – physically and mentally.
Though it’s good to pay back your body for “sleep-debts” by allowing long hours of rest, remember, it does not match up the quality of sleep you get during the night.

So if you want to stay healthy and be on top of your challenges, sleep well. Or like they say, “sleep like a baby”.

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    Sleep Deprivation

    When you don’t give your body the time to restore and strengthen itself, this is what happens to your body: Your central nervous system, which is the most intricate network in the world, needs long hours of sleep to function efficiently and repair itself

    Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted and don’t let you think, concentrate and do your duties well. To begin with, you will feel incredibly tired, sleepy and sluggish, with decreased ability to think clearly, absorb new information and work efficiently. Your creativity abilities get stifled and decision-making gets tough.
    How It Makes You Unhealthy
    Sleep-deficit impacts both short-term and long-term memory, making you extremely forgetful and absent-minded. You may become irritable, short-tempered, become unnaturally sensitive to emotions and experience extreme mood-swings. Put simply, sleep deprivation will impair your cognitive functions over a period of time. If the deprivation keeps continuing, possibilities of hallucinations, behavioural changes, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts escalate dangerously.
    One of the most serious aftereffects of sleep deprivation is micro-sleep of sleeping off for a few seconds without realising. This can prove fatal if you are you’re driving or operating any machinery. Micro-sleep can also make you prone to injuries due to trips and falls.
    Sleep deprivation also leads to other health complications like:

    • Increased risk of health problems like high blood pressure and stroke
    • Higher risk of cardiovascular diseases
    • Decreased immunity; you tend to get sick often or take longer time to
    • recover
    • Respiratory diseases like common cold and influenza
    • Diabetes
    • Weight gain/ obesity (in combination with factors like stress and lack of exercise)
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    Sleep Killers: Common Sleep Disorders

    Can’t sleep well? Waking up too many times while sleeping? Feeling tired and sleepy through the day? Could be a sleep disorder. It’s good to seek medical help if it’s continuing or affecting the quality of your life.

    Aster Sleep Clinic Call: +91 99470 88091

    Snoring

    Habitual snoring is not only impairs your own sleep quality, but also of your loved ones.

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    The most common form of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. A potentially dangerous sleep disorder, this condition causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep, leading to disruption in brain function. One of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea is loud snoring.

    Narcolepsy

    A neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness

    Insomnia

    A sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep or sleep uninterruptedly.

    Sleepwalking

    The tendency to walk during sleep, without one’s knowledge.

    Parasomnias

    Disruptive sleep disorders that include nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, confusional arousal etc., which occur during wake up from REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep or partial wake up from non-REM sleep.

    Nightmares in adults

    Terrifying dreams; can be due to excessive stress, fear and depression.

    Night terrors in children

    Way different from nightmares, night terrors are characterised by frequent and recurrent episodes of crying /fear during sleep, and inability to wake up the child.

    Bedwetting

    Bedwetting can be a symptom of an underlying disease; however it may not be so in children

    Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

    Occasional teeth grinding does not usually cause harm, but teeth grinding on a regular basis can lead to damaged teeth/ jaw muscle discomfort/ teeth muscle joint pain.

    REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

    Acting out of one’s sleep, even moving limbs/ engaging in activities while asleep.

    Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

    Disruptions in one’s circadian rhythm or the “internal body clock” that regulates the (approximately) 24-hour cycle of biological processes.

    Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

    Rhythmic movements of the limbs during sleep.

    Hypersomnia (Daytime Sleepiness)

    Hypersomnia, or excessive sleepiness, is a condition in which a person has trouble staying awake during the day.

    Sleep Paralysis

    The feeling of being awake but unable to move or call out.

    Sleep-Related Eating Disorders

    Abnormal eating patterns during the night can be a sleep-related disorder.

    Shift Work Sleep Disorder

    Inability to stay awake/ alert - seen in those doing nights or rotating shifts.

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    Good Night, Sleep Tight:
    16 Easy Ways To Sleep Well

    Not able to sleep well? Here are some simple, practical ways that can help you get better sleep.

    1.Reset your body clock

    Train yourself to sleep and wake up at almost the same time every day, even on weekends. This routine will help your brain and body to get used to a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

    2.Dim the lights

    Dimthe lights in your home before bedtime to signal your brain to make melatonin -the hormone that induces sleep.

    3.Shut Down

    Switch off all gadgets like TV, phones and laptops; or any electronic equipment that glows/ blinks brightly.

    4.Keep the clock away

    Put away the alarm clock/ watch so that you don’t keep looking at it frequently.

    5.Comfortable posture

    Sleep comfortably without straining your back; neck resting a not very high-not very low pillow. You don’t want to wake up with a sore back or a crick in the neck.

    6.Avoid afternoon naps and siestas

    As much as you feel energised after a quick nap, there’s nothing as good as a good night’s sleep.

    7.Avoid caffeine

    Don’t take anything with caffeine before you sleep, like aerated drinks, coffee or even chocolates.

    8.Exercise regularly

    Exercise well before bedtime. Post-workout burst of energy can keep you awake.

    9. Eat Light

    Eat healthy, non-greasy food in moderate quantities. Try drinking a glass of warm milk/ chamomile tea if your health condition allows you to.

    10.Don’t drink

    Alcohol, after the initial effect, can keep you awake. So don’t drink before you sleep.

    11.No smoking

    Tobacco is a stimulant, just like coffee. It will leave you sleepless.

    12.Don’t drink too much water

    Drinking plenty of water is good, but be careful of the amount before you go to bed as it may want to make you use the restroom often.

    13.Silence please

    Keep away noises as much as possible. Try listening to soothing music if it will relax you.

    14.Pets not allowed

    As much as you love your pets, don’t let them sleep on your bed. Not only can their movements disturb your sleep, their hair/fur can cause allergies and cause flea infestation on the bed.

    15.Free spirit

    Put away all your tensions. A good night’s sleep gives your body the physical and mental strength to handle things well.

    16. Avoid pills

    Some sleep inducing medicines can become a habit and have side-effects too. Have these only if your doctor asks you to.

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    Food For Sleep: 7 Natural Sleep Inducers

    Want to sleep well? Make sure you include these in your diet. Also, drink plenty of water and keep your energy levels high with regular exercise.

    Oatmeal.

    Oatmeal/oats trigger insulin production naturally, making you sleep.

    Wholegrain Bread

    Fills you comfortably, and helps produce insulin that makes you want to sleep.

    Nuts

    Walnuts and almonds help steady heart rhythm and relaxes your muscles, helping you sleep.

    Honey

    Honey has glucose that tells your brain to shut off Orexin, the chemical responsible for alertness.

    Herbal tea/ infusions

    Chamomile/Tulsi tea infusions will help you doze off easily

    Dark Chocolate

    Can’t sleep without having a dessert? Try dark chocolates. It will help you sleep well.

    Banana

    Packed with vitamin B6 that converts tryptophan to serotonin, bananas will help you sleep soundly.

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    Exercise For Brain Fitness

    Want to keep your brain fit, healthy and supercharged? Start exercising.

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    Brain Boosters

    Did you know that a eating healthy helps keep your brain healthy and charged? Here’s why you should eat the right things at the right time.

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