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Why Healthy Sleep Hygiene is important to stay Fit | Health Tips

Sleeping is one of the most important naturally occurring activities, of our human body. Most of us take a good 6-8 hour sleep every night and wake up recharged in the morning. However, many of us don't give sleep the importance it deserves.

Due to the nature of our jobs these days, and our altered lifestyle because of it, we fail to maintain a proper sleep hygiene.

Healthy Sleep Cycle | Health Tips

We all think that just having a sleep of 6-8 hours is enough. However, one needs to do more to stay healthy.

In this article, I will share in detail how a good sleep can help us stay fit and why it is extremely important to maintain a healthy sleep hygiene.

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What is Sleep?

According to the technical definition, as mentioned on Wikipedia, Sleep is a naturally occurring state of the body wherein the mind is in a state of altered Consciousness.

What that means is that the body is not unconscious. It can react and respond to physical stimulation but the mind is no completely conscious. Since the muscles and organs of the body are controlled by the brain, they are also in a reduced interaction state.

Why is Sleep Important?

The Human Brain is one of the most complex systems in the world. So much so that the scientists, even after years of studies, have been unable to fully understand the working and functioning of the brain.

Same holds true for Sleep as well. Scientists are still not fully sure about how the human brain goes to sleep. How are the dreams generated?

However, one thing that scientists have been able to state with certainty is that during a sleep, the human body undergoes a lot of repair work. Most of the repair of  damaged human tissues, muscles, cells etc occurs when the body is asleep. 

You may have noticed that during illness, one tends to feel sleepy all the time. We sleep more than usual during that time. This is natural since the body wants time to repair and fight the disease-causing virus/bacteria etc.

Even growth of the body happens during sleep. 

Take the case of newborn babies. They sleep for a majority of hours during the day. This is because it is their growth period and sleep is the best time for the cells and tissues to grow. As we grow into adults, the sleep time keeps reducing. Old age people sleep for very fewer hours!

For an average adult, a good uninterrupted sleep of 6-8 hours is sufficient. It helps keeps the mind the body fresh and healthy.  

Hence, it is very important to have a good sleep every day!

Why is Sleep Hygiene important?

Sleep Hygiene means maintaining a proper cycle of sleep. This can be done by ensuring that one goes to sleep and wakes up daily at a specific time. This time also shouldn't be late.

Ideally, 9-10 PM is the best time to go to sleep at night, and 5-6 AM in the morning is the best time to wake up.
 Healthy Sleep Hygiene is important to stay Fit | Health Tips

However, due to the nature of our jobs these days, which require us to work late hours, we are unable to maintain such a schedule. Even our current lifestyle, which is influenced by late-night parties and dinners, prevents us from following such a healthy sleep cycle. Though we do not consider it such a big deal, in reality, it affects us in more ways than not!

My Dad always says, "When in doubt about something, look towards mother nature for answers!"

And I have found resonance with this thought of his. God has created us in a way that we automatically fall asleep at night. During the day, it is very hard for the body to fall asleep. But as soon as the sun goes down, the body starts showing signs of sleep. This is true even if you have somehow managed to sleep for a few hours during the day.

Even most of the animals sleep during night time!

This is because the cells inside our body have been programmed to make the body sleep when the sun goes down. After sunset, our body automatically releases sleep-inducing hormones which help us fall asleep.

By not sleeping on time, and following a healthy sleep hygiene, we force our body to act against its natural behaviour. And making something act in contradiction to its natural instincts can be disastrous.

Take the example of a calculator. Suppose it has been programmed to handle maximum 6 digit numbers. If we do a calculation that yields a number greater than 6 digits, its functionality will break. Though it will perform the operation, the final answer will not be what we expected.

Similarly, if the body is allowed to function the way it was designed to, it will stay fit and healthy. All body functions will perform the way they should. But if we try to force it to follow a schedule that it shouldn't, it will definitely perform the operation, but will not yield the right results.

Many of us these days suffer from lifestyle disease like:

  • Diabetes
  • Insomnia
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks, etc
Lack of proper sleep hygiene is a very important cause of these disease in today's urban millennia.

Healthy Sleep Habits

As I have already discussed above, it is very important to maintain a healthy sleep hygiene. But how can we do it?

Below are some of the healthy sleep habits we can inculcate in ourselves, as well as our kids, to stay healthy.
  • Try not to stay awake after 11 PM. Though the ideal time is 10 PM, most of us are in jobs that force us to work late hours and it is not possible to sleep by 10. We should try to sleep by 11 at all costs. Children should definitely be made to sleep by 10.
  • Don't indulge in watching shows or movies on TV or Mobile. Exposure to TV and mobile screen at night is a major factor of losing sleep. Even if you have come late to your home, just have dinner and sleep. Watching TV or shows on mobile forces your brain to be more active when it is trying to wind down. Watching mobile and TV screen also produce hormones that drive away the sleep and cause insomnia. If you really have to, use night mode or blue light filter apps on your smartphone.
  • Ideally, you should not expose your eyes to any screen half an hour before you go to bed. This gives your body enough time to wind down.
  • Avoid taking any caffeinated drinks like coffee after 4 PM. It has been observed that the effects of caffeinated drinks last almost 6 hours from the time of intake. If you take a coffee in the evening at 6 or 7 PM, your mind will find it difficult to fall asleep on time.
Healthy Sleep Habits
  • If you find it difficult to sleep, try listening to soothing music to help you fall asleep.
  • Practice meditation and deep breathing. Though ideally this should be done early morning, anytime is a great time. Meditate along with deep breathing for 10-15 minutes every day. It will not only help you fall asleep, but it will also calm you down and reduce stress and anxiety.

Final Thoughts

Though Sleep is very important for our body, the importance of a healthy sleep hygiene is even more. It not only helps us stay fresh every day but it also helps keep our body healthy and fit.

Hence we should try and ensure that we maintain a good sleep hygiene and take rest at the proper time during the night. 

Our body needs 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep and night is the best time for it. During the day, there can be a lot of disturbances but during the night, the body naturally tends to fall asleep and we should make full use of it.

If we follow a healthy sleep cycle, we can naturally avoid many diseases and ensure a healthy lifestyle for us.

Do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments.

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I am an ardent Techie and a Free Thinker. I love to explore new topics and technologies, and share my knowledge and views with the world.
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