What is a good night’s sleep?

Getting a good night's sleep isn't just about snoozing. It's a complex physiological process that involves various stages and bodily functions. Let's dive deeper into what constitutes a good night's sleep and the potential indicators of both good and bad sleep, along with some common sleep disorders. 

Quality Sleep Indicators:


  1. Feeling Refreshed: Waking up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated is a hallmark of a good night's sleep. It's not just about the hours clocked in; it's about the quality of sleep achieved during those hours.
  2. Healing and Growth: During sleep, the body secretes growth hormones crucial for tissue repair and growth. This restoration process is essential for recovery from daily wear and tear. 

Indicators of Poor Sleep: 

1. Snoring: Not only a sign of disrupted sleep, but persistent snoring can lead to other issues like sleep apnea, contributing to daytime sleepiness and fatigue. 

2. Acid Reflux: Lack of sleep can disrupt the function of the esophageal sphincter, causing acid reflux and heartburn. 

3. Headaches: Missing out on REM  (Rapid Eye Movement)*   Sleep phases can result in morning headaches due to improper rest and restoration. 

*REM Sleep - A phase of the sleep cycle characterised by rapid movement of the eyes, low muscle tone, and vivid dreams. During REM sleep, brain activity increases to levels similar to wakefulness, but the muscles become nearly paralyzed, except for the muscles controlling eye movements and breathing.

 4. Mood Swings: Sleep deprivation affects mood stability, leading to irritability, mood swings, and increased susceptibility to stress. 

5. Throat and Body Aches: Consecutive poor sleep can weaken the immune system, making you more prone to sore throats and even increased susceptibility to viral infections. Additionally, inadequate sleep can exacerbate body aches and joint pains. 

Common Sleep Disorders:

1. Insomnia: Characterised by difficulty falling or staying asleep, insomnia can be transient or chronic, impacting one's ability to function during the day. 

2. Sleep Apnea: This disorder involves pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep, often accompanied by snoring and leading to fragmented sleep. 

3. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): RLS causes an irresistible urge to move legs due to discomfort or strange sensations, often interfering with falling asleep. 

4. Narcolepsy: A neurological disorder causing excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden episodes of falling asleep during the day. 

Understanding these indicators and disorders can help individuals recognize and address their sleep-related issues. Factors like a consistent sleep schedule, a comfortable sleep environment, and practising good sleep hygiene play pivotal roles in achieving quality sleep. 

Remember, while 'slept like a baby' is a common phrase, striving for a well-rested adult sleep is just as important for overall health and well-being!


Keep exploring: Click on Healthy SleepWhat happens During Sleep , and Factors affecting Sleep to read more articles 


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Sleep Revitalizes your Mind, Body, & Heart

The body goes under many transformations, while it is in the state of rest during sleep. There are many essential functions that take place in the body such as tissue repair, memory and energy restoration, release of essential hormones, muscle relaxation, and others. While you are asleep, the brain releases indispensable hormones that promote tissue growth. This process helps your body rejuvenate from the daily hustle bustle. Moreover, tissue growth aids in the recovery from wounds or cuts. Sunita Kumar, Co-Director, Centre for Sleep Disorders, Loyola University Medical Centre, aptly remarks that during sleep the body produces more white blood cells, to fight countless bacteria and viruses1. The heart rate also registers a dip during sleep, which according to Ms. Kumar, strengthens the heart as it is at rest with lowered activity. Moreover, a good night’s sleep also reduces the chances of getting afflicted with heart diseases.

Good Sleep = Sharp Memory

Sleep is a time, when becomes sharp and strong. Sleep quantity and quality play a fundamental role in determining what one remembers and what one doesnt. Therefore, development of long-term memory (LTM) from short-term memory (STM) happens during sleep.  Scientific researches state that the brain follows a different mechanism for storing memories through the hippocampus and neo-cortex areas. Hippocampus helps you to remember your life experiences (childhood memories), while the neo-cortex is responsible for remembering the concepts you learn (name of a color). Communications and sync between the two, helps in learning new data and updating old ones.

Sleep Steers Hormonal Hunger

Sleep not only affects your energy levels and mental functions, but also regulates your body weight. Improper sleep is related to the increasing cases of obesity, worldwide2. Many hormones which regulate the feeling of hunger (ghrelin) and signal the feeling of being full (leptin), are all influenced by the quality of your sleep.  Leptin: This is also known as satiety hormone, which is produced by the fat cells of the body. It prevents overeating by sending signals to the brain that the body does not require more food, as there is enough to fuel the body.  Ghrelin: This hunger hormone is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which signifies the body that there is need for food. This hormone rises in the body, when you feel hungry and decreases when you have consumed some food.  Studies show that people who have disrupted patterns of sleep - have larger appetite, because of higher ghrelin secretion and lowered secretion of leptin. This imbalance in the secretion of these hormones is a result of improper sleep patterns3.