Good night sleep is one of the most essential rest cycles needed to maintain a healthy body. Different creatures on this planet have different sleep cycles and some don’t sleep altogether. Humans have a sleep cycle too. A healthy sleep cycle is a biological need for a healthy body and mind. This biological needs consist of waking up, urinating and defecating, eating, drinking, rest, pro-create and sleep. This natural sleep cycle, when followed, gives optimal health to the body. There is always a when to do what biological principle that we humans need to follow every day.
All humans have identical sleep cycles except that there is a small variation in the quality of sleep we enjoy. The ideal sleep cycle we all have is to sleep a couple of hours after sunset and wake up before sunrise. Tranditionally, Indians used to sleep latest by 8:30 – 9:00pm and wake up before 4:00am. This sleep cycle is considered most healthy.
A Good Night Sleep
A good night sleep is going to bed by 9:30pm latest and waking up an hour before sunrise. Ideally, you will have about 6 1/2 to 7 hours of good sleep time. If your body structure is broad and heavy, your mind need to sleep less hours. If your body type is lean and oily texture, you might need quality sleep but wake up before sunrise. If your body structure is lean or stout and skin texture is dry, you might have to sleep early and avoid late nights and wake up before 6:00 am Based on your body type, a slight modification will be necessary so that your body can have optimum benefit from your sleep.
Stages of sleep
When you have a good night sleep, you go through stages of sleep.
The two main stages of sleep are REM (random eye movement) sleep, which is not deep sleep and then there is deep sleep. Dreaming is a part of sleep which happens in REM sleep. Since dreams are essentially an alternate reality we are living in another time frame, your body responds in real time. Your heart rate may increase and certain secretions may also happen during this time.
The second type of sleep is the deep sleep. This is the time when your body is totally resting and rejuvenating.
If the mind is more engaged in REM sleep, then the body gets less rest. During REM sleep, your body begins to express symptoms of sleep deprivation, snoring,
What is Sleep Deprivation?
When the mind is focussed on thinking about the future, anxiety sets in. Anxiety and sleeplessness are mutually contributing. Anxiety causes a person to be wandering in his sleep which leads to lack of sleep and snoring or worse, stays wide eyed and awake which may lead to insomnia. Sleep deprivation can also happen when anxiety causes a person to indulge in social media which may again lead to insomnia. This habit can make a person deprived of sleep. You need to know that sleeping extra hours and waking up in the later parts of the day does not contribute to completing your sleep.
What causes Snoring?
When anxiety increases, the mind becomes hyperactive and restlessness in the body increases. Restlessness in the body results in an imbalance in Prana. To balance Prana, a flap called epiglottis partially closes the windpipe. This produces a sound which we recognise as snoring. Snoring in an indicator that the body’s energies are depleting. The body demands rest. When we give the body adequate rest with a good night sleep, snoring will stop. Avoiding sleep and over-working the body and mind can cause snoring to aggravate progressively leading to a symptom called sleep apnoea. Snoring when not addressed, can lead to serious heart conditions.
Do your own Sleep Study
Is there a way to know whether you had a good night sleep last night? The answer is yes. You can do your own sleep study.
1. Did you feel like you want to go to bed?
2. Did you stop all activities at least 15 minutes before getting to bed?
3. How did you prepare to go to bed? Like washing your feet with warm water or having a shower?
4. After lying down, did you take time to slip into sleep?
The morning after your sleep, assess these parameters;
1. Did you wake up to an alarm or did sleep simply get over?
2. When you woke up, did you feel fresh and awake? Or did you feel groggy and sleepy?
3. Did you wake up feeling light and eyes wide awake? Or did you wake up feeling heavy in body and dull in mind?
You’ll know from your answers how your sleep cycle has been.
Diagnosing Sleep Problems
Improper sleep can cause several sleep problems. Though you can find out how your sleep cycle has been, it may not be possible for everyone to find out what their sleep is doing to them. Sleep deprivation can lead to symptoms such as snoring, sleep apnoea, depression, anxiety, restlessness, fatiguing pain, undiagnosed pain, weak memory, burning sensation in hands and feet, hair fall, constipation and several other symptoms.
Sleep problems can be diagnosed by performing
Can I Sleep Less?
People today are over occupied and compromise on their sleep. It is understood that sleep deprivation causes problems. But, can I sleep less and still benefit? The answer is a big YES!
How to Sleep Less and Sleep Better?
The other ways to sleep better and a little less are;
1. Dip your feet in moderately hot water for 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Though results of shorter hours of
sleep are not immediate, you will eventually not need long sleeping hours.
2. Having a bath before sleep is also a good way to have a good night sleep and sleep a little less.
3. Observing your breath flow into your nostrils is yet another way of slipping into sleep.
4. Some people chant mantras to get to sleep.
The author, Mahesh Krishnamurthy, has more than two decades of experience diagnosing physiological and emotional causes of sleep deprivation. He has since helped over 43000 people.