Sleep is a daily visitor in life for the majority of us, isn’t it? But how many of us have really gone to its roots to explore it? It is a scientific fact that ‘sleep’ is one of the basic necessities of human body apart from air, water and food. A good night’s sleep is a fundamental part of our existence to remain energetic and rejuvenated all day. Lack of sleep not only affects our energy levels badly but also physical as well as mental health. It makes us less interactive in relationships and less productive at work.
About one-third of our lives is spent in the state of unconsciousness known as sleep. Sleep undergoes a circadian cycle comprising of six phases from being awake to the stage of rapid eye movement controlled by a biological clock in the brain. Sleep can turn upset when the natural cycle is destructed. Chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to increased risks of obesity, diabetes and heart diseases.
A normal night after a schedule of sleepless nights does not pose any threat to the body. But long-term sleep deprivation may lead to malfunctioning of the immune system and paves way to hallucinations. A daytime nap may be fruitful to some except for those suffering from insomnia. Recent studies have shown that downtime of the brain encourages the growth of nerve cells, repairs cellular damage and replenishes its energy resources.
Sleep is a time for rest and relaxation. It helps to organise memories, solidify learning and improve concentration. Sleep is also a time of rest and repair to neurons that are freeways of the nervous system carrying out both voluntary and involuntary actions. Our body needs proper sleep to perform tasks and activities during daytime. Also, many hormones including the growth hormones are released during sleep or right before sleep. This clearly signifies the importance for sleep in growing children.
Sleep can however vary individually, The amount of sleep required by an infant would not be similar to that required by an adult. Infants require 14-15 hours of sleep whereas adults require just 7-8 hours of sleep daily. It is quite obvious that if we dont get proper sleep at night we experience several difficulties the next day. We feel clumsy and cranky, finds difficulty even in walking and offers poor performance in school or at work.
Sleep deprivation can be dangerous not only personally but also to others. Everyday we come across through various sources the accumulative increase in the number of road accidents, majority of which are caused by driver fatigue. Making up for lost sleep and improving sleeping habits help us to stay fit and healthy in the long run. Sleep is as necessary as food for the body. To remain fit and strong one should develop a good bedtime routine and consume a healthy diet.