Thursday October 18, 2018

Are you sleeping right? Here are 11 facts about sleep from the doctor himself


By Dr. J.K. Bhutani

After good stomach (appetite), good SLEEP is a fairly good indicator of sound health.

We all need sleep, as much as we need food, water and oxygen to survive, propagate and work effectively as a human race. Good natural sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being.
We need sleep as much, for a variety of benefits and functions of brain and body, as we need it to connect with the piety GODLY soul in us all and for much of our dreamy-worlds, fantasies and aspirations.

The intended ‘night-time benefits’ are built in our species survival and adaptation to the DIURNAL rhythm of the planet mother-EARTH. Human sleep and wakefulness periods follow a natural, circadian rhythm influenced by external environmental cues, most important being the sunlight.

  1. The photosensitive-retinal-ganglion cells have a pigment melanopsin, which, after getting activated by light, regulates the synthesis of MELATONIN, the sleep hormone from pineal gland. This neurohormone, along with other endorphins and well-being hormones, plays an important role in sleep-awake cycle and circadian rhythms.


  1. There doesn’t seem to be any one system-organ-tissue-cell or the micro-organelles (cilia, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria etc) within the body, or process within the brain, that isn’t optimally ENHANCED by sleep, and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough of it.


  1. Sleep enhances the learning capability, helps cement recent memory, erase the superfluous or erratic and re-energizes the emotional circuits to cope effectively with unpleasant emotion, grief or loss.


  1. SLEEP boosts our immune system to ward off or fight infections, sickness, to keep malignancy away and also optimises our body’s energy balance, glucose-insulin responses and our food assimilation eventually. Weight-obesity-Hypertension and Cardiovascular diseases are proven outcomes of sleep deprivations, studies show.


  1. Sleep, analysed scientifically, consists of 4 phases. From Awake to Light/NREM(Non-Rapid-Eye-Movement), to Deep/REM and repeat. These cycles are of 90-120 minutes and we need 3-4 such cycles normally. The NREM or light sleep refreshes our body-muscles-physique and NREP sleep energizes our brain. Both light and deep sleeps are needed for the optimal body-mind functions.


  1. Our current PERCEPTIONS and PRIORITIES regarding sleep, its need, nature and quality are not healthy and are rather cynical of its INEVITABLE NEED and quality. We all need 7-8 hours of sleep, different from infants who may sleep for 14-16 hrs and adolescents who may need 10 hours for optimal growth.


  1. The sleep has to be natural too for the intended benefits. WE need to ADOPT and develop significantly better methods for creating NATURAL sleep as the sedatives-alcohol or tranquilizers do not give WHAT a natural wink, short nap or even one cycle of 2hrs sleep can. Alcohol may appear to allow people to fall asleep quicker but it reduces the REM sleep and thus, is not energising for the brain.


  1. Lack of REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness, poor concentration and much of the hangover phenomenon symptoms. While sedatives and tranquilizers may be a sleep aid in insomnia patients, but they have less rejuvenating and restorative sleep benefits. They also have a potential to cause addiction, substance abuse and often hamper with respiratory muco-ciliary clearance and are often associated with many health problems. The litany of benefits of the natural sleep are legion and need to be propagated with same fervour as are the benefits of organic foods in the public perceptions.

SLEEP – hygiene is a collection habits and practices conducive to sleeping naturally and well on a regular basis. Some STEPS which can help are listed below.


  1. Try honouring the body sleep schedule/ rhythm, even on weekends and travel days. A routine of physical exercise helps release endorphins and wellness hormone which can help induce natural sleep.


  1. Keep electromagnetic away for at least 2 hrs before sleep time. All LED bulbs, laptops, tablets, cell phones, LED TVs and even LED digital clocks can affect melatonin production and potentially mess with your sleep cycles. A relaxing thought-meditations or a story book is a better option.


  1. Have a comfortable temperature, good mattress-pillow and clean bedroom ambience.
    Avoid tea/coffee/ stimulant energy drinks and alcohol. And having a firm belief in the goodness and hope helps.

SLEEP, if called a THIRD PILLAR of sound health after diet and exercise, should be APT!


Dr J.K. Bhutani, MD is a protagonist of preventive and promotive health care based on austere biology and facilitating self-healing powers of human organism. Twitter: @drjkbhutani

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Lack of Proper Sleep May Lead To Impairment of Mental Skills: Study

Even a single night's sleep can affect a person's ability to think.

Sleeping too much can affect your mental skills: Study Pixabay

While lack of proper sleep has been known to affect health, a new study has showed that people who sleep less or more than an average of seven to eight hours per night are more likely to develop impairment in their mental skills.

The findings showed that this effected adults equally.

The amount of sleep associated with highly functional cognitive behaviour was the same for everyone (seven to eight hours), regardless of age.

Also, the impairment associated with too little or too much sleep did not depend on the age of the participants, the researchers said.

“We found that the optimum amount of sleep to keep your brain performing its best is seven to eight hours every night and that corresponds to what the doctors will tell you need to keep your body in tip-top shape, as well,” said lead author Conor Wild, Research Associate at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

sleeping, impairment
The average age of participants was 46 years and 63 per cent were men.

“We also found that people that slept more than that amount were equally impaired as those who slept too little,” Wild added.

For the study, published in the journal SLEEP, the team examined more than 40,000 participants.

Nearly half of all participants reported typically sleeping less than 6.3 hours per night, about an hour less than the study’s recommended amount.

Most participants who slept four hours or less performed as if they were almost nine years older.

Also Read: Losing Just 6 Hours of Sleep May Spike Up Diabetes Risk: Study

Importantly, the participants’ reasoning and verbal abilities were two of the actions most strongly affected by sleep while short-term memory performance was relatively unaffected.

On the other hand, even a single night’s sleep can affect a person’s ability to think. Participants who slept more than usual the night before participating in the study performed better than those who slept their usual amount or less, the researchers said. (IANS)