By Muneer Shamee
Macbeth, a brave general in Shakespeare’s play has eulogized the importance of sleep as ” the innocent sleep…The death of each day’s life /sore labor’s bath / Balms of hurt minds / Great nature’s second course…”. We spent one third of precious life in sleeping. When we sleep we are unaware of happenings around the world. As we fall sleep, most of the senses are shut up like unaware of the sights, smelling habits and blowing sounds. We sleep in safer and closed spaces. Sleeping helps in keeping our concentration level high, good in learning at school, boost our immune system and helps us to maintain physical health. Also we are emotionally sound and happy. It also helps in growth of human brain, repair the damage cells and build new muscles. Most of the important part of brain is the learning and memory part of the brain. Memory formation of brain consists of three process- first is encoding that happens when a person is awaken as the information gathers around the process. Second process is consolidation when a person is asleep and various information is stored in our brain and third process is retrieved one in which stored information in our brain is accessed or recalled, in other words we remember our information.
More than half of all adults claim that they do not get enough sleep. It changes throughout our life and depends on our age and energy consumed. An average infant needs more than 10 hours sleep throughout the day whereas a teenager requires 9 hours uninterrupted sleep and an adult spends 7 to 8 hours deep sleep. Deep sleep drops our heart rates, lowers our blood pressure. An ideal sleep times differs from person to person. Someone is satisfied with less than 8 hours of sleep whereas others feel fresh after 8 hours of deep sleep.
Lack of sleep actually prevent our brain from being able to make new memories. So without sleep our memory in the brain shuts down and new information and memories can’t come as usually. Sleeplessness develops several harmful symptoms – it increases the development of toxic protein which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease because it is during sound sleep at night when brain actually kicks away toxic proteins, and if we are unable to sleep properly, each and every night more and more toxic Alzheimer’s related proteins will build up and there is greater risk of developing dementia in later life. Sleep deprivation in our body have numerous consequences. First it effects the reproductive system and enhances the ageing process of our body. Lack of sleep also affects our immune system as it reduces our critical anti-cancer fighting immune cells thus the root cause of bowel cancer, prostrate cancer and breast cancer.
Our cardiovascular system is also affected by the sleeping disorder. Lack of sleep doesn’t boost our immune system, our heart rates and blood pressure rises up causing fatal heart attacks. Less than 6 hours of sleep increases our stroke percentage in our lifetime. Long hours of sleepness decline our brain function and impairments build up in our body. There may be physical and physiological deterioration in our body after continuous hours of sleeplessness and our body is intoxicated just as a drunk person drivng a car. Students who spent less hours in sleeping due to prolong reading habits are much affected by deep sleep recall less intake in their memory.
We can improve our sleeping habits by various healthy habits. The first and foremost things of inducing sleep is the change in the location of sleeping places as it should be dark and the temperature should be normally suited to our sleeping habits. Second and most important is the calmness and quietness of the vicinity where a person takes rests. Regular exercises in day hours makes our body tired and induce sleep. People suffering from sleep disorders must avoid taking daytime’s nap. Food habits also effects our sleeping patterns. Night meals should be light and less intake of fluids be preferred. Too much taking tea, coffee and cigarette late at night must be avoided. Watching horror movies, videos, reading mysterious books at night must be controlled. We should go as early as possible to our bed and maintain regular sleep cycle fixed and avoid varying it.
(Author is a columnist. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])