Both adequate quantity and quality of sleep are equally important. Sleep fragmentation and suboptimal quantity of sleep has its consequence right from cardio-metabolic issues to impaired work-life balance.
According to the Head of Medical Affairs, ResMed- South Asia, Dr Sibasish Dey talks about the hidden consequences of lack of sleep on your mind and body.
In the realm of sleep, our body, and mind experience essential physiological and neurological changes. One of the primary functions of deep sleep is to facilitate the body to repair and regenerate itself, which is crucial for the body to rejuvenate, promoting tissue growth, muscle repair, and cellular regeneration.
Our sleep has several stages. One of these is deep sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep. It is the third stage of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, playing a crucial role in the body’s restorative functions.
During this stage, the brain tries to rejuvenate and prepares itself physiologically for the next day. Impairment in slow-wave sleep leads to oxidative stress and the production of free radicals, which in the long run may lead to cardio-metabolic disorders.
Growth hormone which is involved in tissue repair and metabolism is also released during deep sleep and impairment in slow-wave sleep impairs the production of growth hormone.
Beyond physical repair, slow-wave sleep also plays a vital role in maintaining physical health, cognitive function, immune system function, and emotional well-being. The body and mind need to undergo these restorative processes to maintain optimal health and functioning.
In certain sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, there is sleep fragmentation and an adequate quantity of deep sleep is lacking.
Due to sleep fragmentation, cognitive function is compromised, leading to difficulties with concentration, memory, and problem-solving. It can also contribute to mood disturbances, resulting in increased irritability, mood swings, and reduced work-life productivity.
Changing some of the bedtime routines can greatly impact the capacity to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep.
Tips To Help Sleep Better
Here are five strategies that can help you get better sleep:
1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your body’s internal clock and enhances the overall quality of all your sleep, including deep sleep.
2. Create a sleep-friendly environment: Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark. Use curtains, earplugs, or white noise machines to minimize disruptions. Comfortable bedding, a supportive mattress, and a relaxing atmosphere can contribute to better deep sleep.
3. Practice relaxation techniques: Prioritize relaxation before bed to prepare your mind and body for deep sleep. This can include activities such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or gentle stretching. Find what works best for you to promote a state of calmness and relaxation.
4. Limit exposure to electronic devices: The blue light emitted by electronic devices can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. 40% of Indians also stated that the use of electronic devices before bedtime have caused a decline in their sleep quality – try your best to put the devices away for at least an hour before bedtime.
5. Diagnosing sleep disorders: Sleep is one of the most basic human needs. The quality of sleep is substantially impacted for many people when they are unable to consistently get adequate sleep because of various illnesses or sleep disorders.
The ability to perform both during the day and at night can be hampered by sleep issues. Understanding whether sleep disorders are affecting your sleep health is crucial.
Numerous things, including an unsuitable sleeping environment, consuming food or exercising too soon before bed, and sleeping disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea can all affect the quality of sleep. You may be able to achieve the necessary deep sleep if you make sure you receive enough rest overall. If you find that you are chasing your ZZZs instead of catching them and sleeping, consult a healthcare professional.