There is a popular saying which goes like this”Sleep is the best medicine”. This is indeed true for all persons at all times. But it is becoming increasingly relevant now as various kinds of sleep disorders have reared their ugly head and the number of people who are able to get a good night’s rest is steadily decreasing day by day throughout the entire world. In India, this scenario is no different. According to a survey conducted by the Times of India, 9% of Indians aged more than 50 years are affected by sleep disorders and in most of these cases, this leads to psychological disorders like depression, anxiety etc. So the questions which arise here are that what exactly is meant by sound sleep, what are its advantages and how to initiate measures to treat and prevent these sleep disorders. In order to be able to fully appreciate its benefits, we must first know it’s meaning.
What is sound sleep?
It is a logical and habitual state of the mind and the body which occurs naturally and in which the consciousness of the person is altered and there is comparatively less of sensory actions, complete relaxation of almost all the body’s voluntary muscles and a much-decreased capability to respond to external stimuli and the environment than when the person is awake. When the person sleeps soundly, most of his or her body symptoms remain in an anabolic condition and thus aids in refurbishing the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems of the body. Sleeping every night is most preferable as it is in accordance with the body’s physiological system and it’s biological clock. Detailed research is being conducted on the many functions of sleep and sleep systems but one thing which is crystal clear is that sound sleep which falls in the third and fourth stages of the sleep cycle is absolutely indispensable for overall growth and development of a person.
Not getting enough sound sleep at night? Here’s what you are missing out on:
Lack of sound sleep is disastrous for our health and makes it extremely difficult for us to perform our daily activities along with making us more susceptible to a host of health problems, In order to work efficiently throughout the day, sound sleep is a must. It’s life transforming and life-saving benefits are explained as follows:
- Prevents weight gain: Sleeplessness is one of the major causes of unwanted weight gain as it slows down the pace of the body’s metabolic processes and actives the hunger hormone called ghrelin, due to which we tend to binge eat throughout the day and put on weight by consuming excessive & unhealthy calories.
- Ability to focus, concentrate and be highly alert: A night of sound sleep enables us to face the challenges of our daily lives much more efficiently but inadequate sleep can hinder our abilities to focus and concentrate along with reducing our alertness levels and thus has a detrimental effect on both our work performance and quality of life.
- Mood Enhancer: When a person cannot get the sound sleep they get easily irritated and experience rapid mood swings which can adversely affect their social and personal lives. It also impairs the creative abilities of the people. A good sleep leads to emotional and mental satisfaction.
- Positively impacts looks and external appearance: Sound sleep definitely increases the physical attractiveness of persons along with positively impacting their overall health. This can be validated by a survey in which the photographs of 23 people were taken after a prolonged period of sleeplessness and after a night of sound sleep and then these photos were displayed to 65 people who evaluated every photo on the basis of their physical attractiveness and tiredness. The group which did not sleep well got an inferior rating in all aspects. Sound sleep also helps to get rid of skin problems and dark circles which are caused by sleeplessness and gives a glowing, beautiful spotless skin.
- Promotes effective decision-making abilities: Whenever people face difficulty in solving certain problems in their lives, their brain tries to find out a suitable solution to that problem even when they are sleeping. They might be unable to solve that problem for the time being but sound sleep will provide their brains with the necessary cognitive abilities required in order to effectively deal with such problems and make sensible decisions even in adverse situations and circumstances.
- Increases longevity or lifespan: People who do not get enough sleep are more likely to have a shorter lifespan though it has not yet been verified if less sleep is indeed the reason for or the result of other diseases. But extensive research has shown that persons who get less than six hours of sleep every night are at a much greater risk of expiring earlier than those of the same age who get eight hours of sleep every night.
- Much higher chances of success in all aspects of life: Sleeping more increases the chances of success in every sphere of activity due to quicker reflexes and a sharp and more alert mind. Athletes who increase their sleeping hours have been found to perform much better than those who sleep less.
- Boosts the immune system: Sleeping less can weaken the immune system and thus increases the chances of contracting deadly illnesses. A survey found that less than seven hours of sleep every night put a person three times more at risk of catching infections like a common cold than those who sleep for eight hours or more every night, sound sleep is one of the most effective cures for many health problems.
- Greatly improves the memory: When people get sound sleep their brains experience a procedure in which it recollects their memories and events of that day and this process is extremely crucial for a person to develop a sound memory. According to a study, individuals sleeping for less than six hours every night for two consecutive weeks performed much more poorly on memory tests than people who slept for eight hours.
- Enables proper growth in children: Various researchers have found that sound sleep is required to act as a trigger for the body to release hormones that enable proper growth and overall physical and mental development in children and adolescents. Children who sleep fewer face problems in interacting properly with others and due to their lack of energy and motivation also perform poorly in their academics.
Sound sleep makes us feel amazingly rejuvenated whereas few feelings are worse than constant sleeplessness. Moreover, sound sleep is indispensable for improving our overall physical and mental health and well-being since during sound sleep the body repairs vital organs like the heart and the blood vessels. Thus, less sleep can increase our chances of cardiovascular diseases and various other serious ailments as well.