How sleep plays an integral role in recovery and good health

Forget what Napoleon said; that "Six hours' sleep for a man, seven for a woman, and eight for a fool."

Sleep

Most adults require between 7-8 hours of nightly sleep. Children and teenagers need substantially more rest, mainly if younger than five.

However, life happens and things change. Work schedules, hard-partying, a disruptive bedroom environment, and medical conditions can prevent us from getting enough sleep. But that doesn't take away the fact that we all need enough sleep every night for a good life accentuated by good health.

As it turns out, our bodies need a break! Sleep is necessary for various activities in the body to function smoothly; there's an extensive amount of data that demonstrates the importance of sleep in the processes of synaptic plasticity, emotional regulation, metabolic functions, memory functions, macromolecule synthesis, removal of toxic substances and metabolic waste and cellular maintenance.

Studies have shown that about 35-45 percent of adults suffer from at least one sleep-related disorder (SRD), with women being 40 percent more vulnerable to SRDs than men. In addition, insufficient sleep has been linked with several metabolic diseases like Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Cardiovascular Disorders, high blood pressure, stroke, poor mental health, early death, etc.

Sleep experts have expounded that once we fall asleep, our bodies follow a sleep cycle divided into two stages:

  1. REM (Rapid-eye-movement) Sleep - REM sleep, often called "active sleep. A bunch of sleep specialists acknowledge that these eye exercises are, in a form, connected to the path that we have dreams.
  2. NREM(Non-Rapid-eye-movement) Sleep - NREM sleep is referred to as "deep" or "slow-wave" sleep.

Radical changes brought on by COVID in terms of lifestyle, work, socializing etc., have led to many people suffering from conditions like insomnia and irregular sleep cycles. The human body and mind store a lot of anxiety throughout the day, which makes us unable to fall asleep well.

Scientists used to think that people were physically and mentally inactive during sleep. But now they know that’s not the case. All night long, your body and brain do quite a bit of work that’s key for your health.

During deep sleep, your body works to repair muscle, organs, and other cells. Chemicals that strengthen your immune system start to circulate in your blood. You spend about a fifth of your night’s sleep in deep sleep when you’re young and healthy -- more if you haven’t slept enough. But that starts to fade, and by the time you’re over 65, it could be down to zero.

So get enough sleep while you are young so that by the time you are 65, you still look like a 30 year old.

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