Why Sleep Matters?

Humans possess a unique ability to voluntarily delay sleep, a trait not commonly found among other mammals. This distinctive capability stems from our complex cognitive functions and societal structures, allowing us to override natural sleep cues. However, this flexibility in sleep patterns has led to a growing trend of sleep disturbances, notably insomnia and sleep deficiency, particularly in the modern era.

The paramount importance of quality sleep in rejuvenating the body and mind is universally acknowledged. Adequate rest during the night revitalises cognitive abilities, enhances alertness, and promotes overall well-being throughout the day. Sleep has been an integral part of human lifestyle since ancient times, recognized for its role in physical and mental health.

Despite its significance, several contemporary factors have intruded upon our sleep patterns. The infiltration of technology, including televisions, smartphones, and various gadgets, has significantly disrupted sleep routines. The constant connectivity, along with the allure of social media notifications and entertainment, has encroached upon sleep time, leading to a rise in sleep disorders among individuals.

Snoring, another common sleep disruptor, has garnered substantial attention due to its impact on the quality of sleep. However, the emerging concerns primarily revolve around the persistent challenges posed by the invasion of technology in our bedrooms. This intrusion has contributed to a societal shift where people increasingly experience fatigue, reduced concentration, and difficulty maintaining prolonged focus on tasks due to inadequate sleep.

As a result, there's a growing recognition of the need to address the influence of technology on sleep hygiene. Strategies to cultivate healthy sleep habits, such as establishing screen-free bedtime routines and limiting gadget use before sleep, have gained traction in promoting better sleep quality and overall well-being in an age where technology encroaches upon our resting hours.

Keep exploring: Click on What is Good Sleep, What happens During Sleep , and Factors affecting Sleep to read more articles related to Healthy Sleep


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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.