Laughter is the best medicine, but adequate amount of sleep can surely take away several diseases. As we evolve as individuals, we go through different phases of our sleep cycles, from having extravagant sleep time but not wanting to sleep right up, to having an innate urge to sleep excessively but having no time.
We are a generation of owls, staying up late nights killing our illness constricting guardian. The world of technology and the internet hampers with our sleep cycle which in turn even deteriorates our health. Every individual needs between seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function at their best. Children and teens, however, need a little more.
Effects of sleep deprivation
Lack of sleep will render you susceptible to a variety of physical, mental and psychological illnesses; causing fatigue, short temper, lack of concentration, irritability, depression, stress, bad mood swings, obesity, heart diseases, anxiety, so on and so forth. These problems possess a ripple effect and are just the beginning of newer, more disturbing complications, the reality outcome being far worse than one could have ever imagined.
Not only does it ensure a 13 percent increase in the mortality risk, at an individual level, but also leads to a loss in the GDP of the nation by around 3 percent, at the national level, costing the country billions of dollars. We are in the midst of a worldwide epidemic of insufficient sleep, some from failure to give sleep adequate priority through ignorance or choice, some from clinical sleep disorders, pressure from competing at work and also from social and family activities.
The multiplier effect
Insufficient sleep can cause lapses in attention span, compromising on problem solving abilities, due to slowed or faulty information processing and judgement, leading to a major loss in productivity. Loss of productivity at work can cause severe alterations in the overall outcome, costing the company a huge loss, which in turn makes the economy crash.
Around one third of Americans do not get enough of sleep, while more than 90 percent Indians are sleep deprived. In a study done in Australia, in 2016-17, the financial cost component of reduced well-being was $17.88 billion, the non-financial cost was $27.33 billion, which adds up to a total cost of $45.21 billion. If individuals started working on their schedules, it could add $226.4 billion to the US economy, $75.7 billion to the Japanese economy while adding $29.9 billion to the UK economy.
Tips to sleep well:
All being said, sleep deprivation can be worked upon, and health can be improved. Here are some helpful sleep hygiene tips to help you get a sound sleep, which will ensure you wake up refreshed and charged up for the day ahead:
1. Avoid watching TV, eating and discussing emotional issues in bed. Associating the bed with other activities often makes it difficult to fall asleep.
2. Minimize noise, light and temperature extremes to enhance the quality of your sleep.
3. Try to avoid drinking fluids before bedtime.
4. Avoid naps, but if you do take a nap, make it no more than 25-30 mins about eight hours after you awake.
5. Do not expose yourself to bright light if you need to wake up at night.
6. Nicotine is a stimulant and should be avoided during latter parts of the day.
7. Intake of caffeine should be regulated, discontinuing it at least four-six hours before bedtime.
8. Alcohol consumption may help you fall asleep, but the metabolism that clears it from your system when you are asleep causes a withdrawal syndrome.
9. A heavy meal before bedtime can hinder sleep and should be avoided too.
10. Exercising just before bed is a bad idea, especially if you are a person who gets aroused by exercise. An early morning or an afternoon exercise routine is apt.
11. Try following a bedtime schedule, do not sleep at odd hours.
Getting the right amount of sleep will not only enhance your productivity, but will also help keep diseases away. The problem is, we do not consider sleep deprivation as a major setback, but hopefully enough, this article will make you realize the magnitude of the conundrum we are dealing with. So I urge you all, to stop what you’re doing, take a minute, and make a vow to henceforth, never ever compromise on sleep.