Theme of the week

Issue XXXVII(16.10.2011)

Sleep Well to Keep Well

I was on my way to baker’s shop this morning to buy some muffins for my daughter, when I met Dinesh, our next door neighbor. “Good morning Dinesh”, I greeted him. Two-three days and no see! Where were you!
Good morning uncle, Dinesh replied. Actually I was in a deep sleep after my semester exams. Too tired after continued sleepless days and nights, I decided to compensate with extra long sleep! I went to bed on Saturday night and got up this morning only.
Extra deep sleep of more than two days!!  Are you alright?
Don’t worry uncle. I’m absolutely fine. This is not first time that I have done this. I had spent 72 hours in my bed continuously after my first board exams. Dinesh replied.
I was amazed! How on the earth can someone keep disconnected for such long! Forget disconnection, how can one control the natural calls for two long days?!?! Unbelievable, isn’t it?
This world is strange. While some struggle for a short nap even after consuming several sleeping pills, people like Dinesh can sleep for days together without any problem!
Sleep is a natural process, which recharge us for a new day. It is a naturally recurring state of reduced or absent consciousness but is more easily reversible than being in hibernation or comma. Scientists still do not have a definitive explanation for why humans have a need for sleep. We do know that sleep is not a complete "switching off" of body functions. Our body parts still function while we are in deep sleep.
During a normal sleep, we usually pass through 5 different states, namely State 1, 2, 3, 4, and Rapid Eye Movement (REM). Experts of the subject say that these states come in a cycle from state-1 to REM and most of the sleeping time is spent in state-2 followed by in REM. State 1 is light sleep and people in this state can be awakened easily. Muscles activity slows down and eye moves very slowly when we are in this state of sleep.
As we enter state 2 of sleep, our eye movement stops and brain waves slows down. In state 3 the brain waves slows down further and in state 4 they are produced very rarely. Waking someone from state 3 and 4 is little difficult.  As we slip into REM state, our breathing becomes more irregular and rapid, our eyes jerk rapidly from one direction to another, our heart rate and blood pressure increases. The more time you spent in state 3, 4 and REM, the more relaxed you feel.
How much sleep do we need depends on various factors including our age and our life style. Infants generally require 16 to 18 hours sleep every day while teenagers require 8 to 9 hours sleep. Adults, in normal conditions require 6 to 8 hours sleep on an average. Our habits and lifestyle also has its impact on our sleeping routine.
I met an eye surgeon, who used to operate only after 9 in the night. He used to sleep only for 2-3 hours a day!

On the lighter side:
Some people have a practice of taking their morning tea before going for bed!!
Those who snore fall asleep first!
Some people talk in their sleep while lecturers talk when others sleep!

People suffering from sleep disorders do not get adequate or restorative sleep, and sleep deprivation is associated with a number of both physical and emotional disturbances. Both, sleeplessness and extra long sleep are signs of sleep disorder and should be cured with expert’s opinion. Balanced and regular sleep is necessary for keeping us physically, mentally and emotionally fit.
Here are some suggestions for those suffering from sleep disorders:

* Go to bed only when feeling sleepy

* Do not take naps

* Go to bed and get up the same time, everyday

* Do not take Caffeine, Nicotine, or Alcohol at least 3-4 hours before bed

* Take a bath with warm water before you go to bed

* Switch off lights in bed room and make sure that the room is quiet and comfortable.

* Do not watch TV while in your bed.

Problems always look smaller after a warm meal and a good night’s sleep. So, take a sound, regular, and deep sleep in order to keep yourself fit, physically and emotionally.
Somebody has rightly said, “To achieve the impossible dream, try going to sleep”.