Do you sleep enough? Its more important than you think!
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, making time to manage all our needs seems like an impossible task. While trying to fit in a day at work, a workout, meeting with friends and time to eat, we often find ourselves cutting into the single most important physiological recovery tool that is disposable to the human body, sleep. In the UAE, 9 out of 10 people do not get the 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night that is recommended for optimal health and general well-being. With such a large number of individuals being affected by sleep deprivation, we must ask ourselves, what should we do to improve our sleep?
Firstly, to improve our sleeping habits, we must understand sleep and its benefits. Sleep is a naturally occurring state of mind and body were altered consciousness and inhibition of voluntary muscle actions is present. Sleep is mainly comprised of 2 phases:
The NREM phase can be further subdivided into 4 phases conveniently named Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3 and yes, you guessed it, Phase 4. Across the night, the REM and NREM sleep cycles every 90 minutes within a repeated cycle daily, while the ratio of REM and NREM sleep shifts around night to night. During the start of the night, Phases 3 and 4 of NREM sleep dominate while Phase 1 and 2 prevail on the later part of sleep. Deep stages 3 and 4 are responsible for body replenishment which is great for the cardiovascular and the metabolic systems. When awake, low levels of brain damage take place as we go through our day as exposure to environmental factors stimulate the production of multiple free radicals that deteriorate the body. During this deep sleep, the sewage system in the brain kicks into high gear and cleanses the brain of all free radicals and metabolic toxins that have been built up during the day being exposed to these environmental factors. Phases 1 and 2 are know as the light sleep phases in which the body cools down, muscles relax, and the brain electrical activity decreases to a lower intensity. REM sleep on the other hand is associated with vivid dreams due to the increase brain activity that is present during this stage. Furthermore, the cardiovascular system goes into periods of massive acceleration and then big deceleration unpredictably while the mind paralyzes the body (muscular system) to allows you to dream safely.
Therefore, what should be done to improve sleep?
To conclude, achieving between 7-8 hours of sleep a night can totally transform the way you feel, think, perform and live given that this is being done consistently. Remember, the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life and this is something you don’t want to gamble with!