By Rongana Nath

The Festive Season is Upon Us. Don’t Lose Sleep

The Festive Season is Upon Us. Don’t Lose Sleep

Rongana Nath

The festive season brings late night partying, binge eating and one of the first casualties during this time is sleep. Missing out on adequate hours of sleep has its own set of consequences on the body. According to doctors, it is essential for adults to sleep for 8 hours and there are various important reasons behind it.

  • The body recuperates during sleep.
  • Concentration and productivity increases.
  • The immune system function improves.
  • The risks of heart disease and stroke decreases.

Children who are often part of the festivities and might want to stay up late into the night, should rest for approximately 10-12 hours.

Less Sleep and Health Issues

Sleep unfolds in three stages—N1, N2, and N3 which are the normal sleep cycles. If one fails to enter the N3 phase, the deep sleep stage, they do not feel fresh in the morning. A sleep-deprived person often feels groggy and inactive in the morning, yawns frequently and suffers from loss of concentration.

According to doctors, a sleep-deprived person can fall asleep any time which can lead to work injuries and accidents, especially if they are driving or involved in hard labour. Prolonged lack of sleep is also known to shoot up the heart rate and blood pressure amongst other health concerns.

  • With sleep deprivation, the brain cells fail to communicate properly, affecting the ability to make decisions.
  • When less sleep impacts the blood pressure level, it increases the risk of heart diseases.
  • The kidney may not be affected directly but high blood pressure may trigger kidney malfunction.
  • Less sleep causes an imbalance in hormones controlling appetite, glucose and energy metabolism, which are secreted during sleep. Someone who is sleep-deprived is known to have decreased levels of leptin, a chemical which makes a person feel full and increased levels of ghrelin which triggers hunger. This leads to excess eating, leading to binge eating.
  • Inadequate sleep decreases the production of natural infection-fighting substances like cytokines which makes the immune system weak.

 

The Solution

Doctors suggest following ‘sleep hygiene’ which refers to some healthy practices that help a person sleep better. Sleep Hygiene is difficult to practice during festivals but still must be done

  • No rigorous activities up to a few hours before sleep time.
  • Switch off electronic devices a few hours before going to bed. Using mobile phones in a dark room can cause deterioration of the eyes.
  • No heavy meals up to 3 hours before sleeping.
  • Listening to light music or reading a book is a good way to fall asleep.

 

Source: Dr Bornali Datta, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Medanta
Images courtesy: Pixabay, Freepik