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A very good article on Sleep and its importance physically, mentally and emotionally

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A very good article on Sleep and its importance physically, mentally and emotionally Empty A very good article on Sleep and its importance physically, mentally and emotionally

Post by Seva Lamberdar Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:07 am
Seva Lamberdar
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A very good article on Sleep and its importance physically, mentally and emotionally Empty Re: A very good article on Sleep and its importance physically, mentally and emotionally

Post by Seva Lamberdar Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:27 am

The above article by Dr. Unni:

(Excerpts from the book “Why we Sleep” by Mathew Walker)

The presence of anything is well appreciated only in the absence of that thing. We take for granted so many things in life that in the normal course we hardly pause to think how the deficiency of those things could change our lives topsy-turvy. The functions and value of sense organs or locomotor organs are sensed and understood better by the unfortunate brethren who are either inherently born without or those have lost them due to some misfortune. Similarly is the case with sleep. Ask anyone who sleeps with difficulty or who does not get adequate sleep, then you will know how lucky you are to enjoy a good, sound sleep.

Sleep that we all enjoy is not just a process after which we wake up rejuvenated and refreshed, it serves many more essential functions and caters to many more physiological and psychological needs for a healthy, happy and wholesome life.

Any adult requires for that matter not less than 8 hours of sound sleep. Routinely sleeping for less than 6-7 hours is said to have a deleterious effect on the Immune system, making the person a high risk case for cancer. Inadequate sleep is a key life style factor that determines whether or not one will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Inadequate sleep also disrupts blood sugar levels profoundly, increases the likelihood of coronary arteries getting blocked thereby making one susceptible to Cardiovascular diseases, stroke and congestive Heart Failure. Sleep disruption further contributes to all major psychiatric conditions including depression, anxiety and suicidality. Sleep deficient adults and children are more likely to have a desire to eat more leading to obesity. When you add the above, it becomes clear that the short you sleep the shorter is your life span.

Sleep, like the desire to eat, drink and reproduce is a basic drive in life. There is not a single organ in the body or process within the brain that isn’t enhanced by sleep.

Within the brain, sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorize, make logical decisions, and recalibrates our emotional circuit to meet the next day social and psychological challenges with a cool headed composure. It also makes us forget our painful memories and inspires creativity.

Down below it restocks our immune system, helps fight malignancy, prevents and wards off infections, fine tunes the balance of insulin and circulating glucose, regulates our appetite, maintains flourishing microbiome in the gut and also maintains a fit cardio vascular system.

Genesis of Sleep:

Sleep in any individual is influenced by two main factors. One is the “Twenty four clock located deep within the brain, called as the Supra charismatic nucleus.  Also known as the “circadian rhythm” this controls when you want to be awake and when you want to sleep. This circadian rhythm besides sending signals to the brain for sleep also sends signals to other organs in the body. This in turn determines preferred time for eating, moods and emotions, metabolic rate and the release of numerous hormones.

The second is the Melatonin hormone produced by the pineal gland. This is also known as the Hormone of Darkness and the Vampire Hormone, since they are released at night. Instructed by the Supra charismatic nucleus the rise of Melatonin begins after dusk. The rise of Melatonin sends signals to the brain saying it is dark and time to sleep. For nocturnal species like bats, crickets, fireflies and foxes this call happens in the morning.

Types of Sleep:

Sleep is the state where the body is not responsive to external stimuli or sensation, and stops perceiving the outside world.  The consciousness of what surrounds you is lost. This does not mean the body has lost its capacity to sense sensations. All signals like smell, touch, taste still flood the centre of the brain, but here in the sensory convergence zone the journey ends while asleep. These signals are blocked by a barricade set up by “Thalamus” a smooth oval shapes organ, smaller than a lemon.

The Thalamus decides which sensory signals are allowed and which are not during sleep.

Sleep can be classified into 2 phases REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non Rapid Eye Movement). Both these phases keep alternating every 90 minutes and so, first the NREM sleep takes over followed by REM sleep.

Infants and children tend to have more of REM sleep. REM sleep builds the short term memories and stores them in the Hippocampus. REM sleep also increases and strengthens the neurological connections. In other words it builds the “Hardware of the Brain”.

The one essential difference between REM and NREM sleep is that it is during REM sleep that we dream and during NREM we do not.

REM sleep increases our ability to recognise, comprehend and allows us to make intelligent decisions and actions. What is today called as Emotional IQ depends on getting sufficient REM sleep night after night.

REM sleep helps construct vast associative networks of information within the brain. REM sleep takes fresh memories into Hippocampus, forge connections between unrelated pieces of information and fuels creativity.

NREM sleep acts as a courier service, transporting the memory packets held in Hippocampus to a permanent place called the Cortex thereby strengthening the long term memory.

It's like transferring information from a pen drive to the hard drive in a computer. NREM sleep thus empties the information in Hippocampus and increases the storage space and makes it ready for acquiring new learning and experiences. During sleep and while dreaming, our locomotor activities gets paralysed. While this does not seemingly cause any problem for Humans who sleep within the safe confines of a home, such a thing would be life threatening for Bird's and fishes. Evolution has provided an interesting solution for survival here. Birds and fishes have the capacity to sleep with half of their brain shut while the other half continues to remain active.


Stick to a sleep schedule. Getting into bed and waking up. Lack of sleep on a working day cannot compensate sleeping on weekends.
Exercise is good, at least 2-3 hours before sleep time.
Avoid Caffeine; Nicotine and Alcohol before bed time also avoid large meals and beverages late night.
Don't take naps after 3 PM.
Relax before sleep time. Make Reading or listening to music a part of bed time ritual.
Take bath before bed time.
Make your bed room Dark, cool and free of gadgets.
Have the right sunlight exposure during the day.
Don't lie in bed Awake.
There is much more to “Why we Sleep" A very informative and useful book for all. (contd)
Seva Lamberdar
Seva Lamberdar

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Join date : 2012-11-29

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