The human body is a special kind of machine that needs a adequate amount of sleep, balance nutritious food, clean air and water to keep it healthy and functioning till the end. Sleep is a blessing from God. God has laid down certain rules for living life. By following which we can stay healthy and happy for life. Sleep is just as important as diet for good health. In order to create awareness of deep sleep one day in a year, March 19 is celebrated as world sleep Day. God has made the day for work and the night for rest. In the modern lifestyle we have forgotten that the efficiency of the whole day is based on a proper sleep of night.
There are so many things to consider in order to understand the relationship between sleep and health.
1) Why sleep? What is sleep?
2) How much sleep is required?
3) What are the benefits of sleep?
4) How much damage is caused by insomnia and what are the causes of insomnia?
5) What are the prerequisites for sleep
6) Types of sleep
7) Remedies to get good sleep
Inadequate sleep, disturbed sleep, problems in sleep etc. can lead to stress, mental discomfort and many physical ailments. Getting enough and deep sleep is also an art. In the senseless following of western countries blindly we have forgotten our culture as well as the rules of natural life which has caused many problems. Sleep is a natural way to give peace or rest to the conscious state (fickleness) of our body and mind, which is a state of peace of the body that comes naturally on a regular basis. In which all the senses and the movement of the mind are calmed. We know that the desire for five major senses is the main reason behind our over activeness and troubles. God has created something invaluable, such as sleep, in order to relax all our desires and bring peace to the living. For which we should always be thankful to God and take full advantage of God’s blessings.
First of all let us understand why sleep is required? The act of sleeping is necessary for survival. The sleep period is the best time for the body to relax, regenerate, grow and get refreshed. Scientific research shows that every living thing has a natural clock, that is, a biological clock which signals to slow down and calm down all the activities of the body as soon as the sun sets. The rate of metabolism in the body is reduced by 5-10 percent. The process of regeneration in the body is accelerated during sleep. The body repairs the wear and tear that has been inflicted on the body and mind during the day only during sleep at night. Bones and muscles also relax and become efficient by creating new cells. The nervous system becomes more energetic and can do the next day’s work more deftly. Absence of adequate, restful, consistent and excellent sleep disturbs the natural functions of the body and mind. Hormones become irregular, decreases the efficiency of the heart, lungs, kidneys, digestive system, circulatory system as well as the nervous system. Awakening keeps the nerves constantly stimulated so that the negativity in the person increases which raises many pains and problems and disturbs the holistic health of the person that is fitness of body, mind and soul.
Now let us get idea that how much sleep is required? Sleep is a part of natural life i.e. it comes naturally and regularly due to the God-given biological clock (which every living being has) and its duration is also determined according to the biological settings. Nature always believes in balance i.e. nothing is advisable over or less than the requirement. Proportion is very important in all the laws of nature. Over sleeping increases laziness and decreases efficiency as well as less sleep has the opposite effect on health. Normally a healthy person should get 6-8 hours of sleep. The amount and duration of sleep depends on the age of the person as well as the physical-mental condition. Babies need a lot more sleep while older people need less sleep. Mental workers need a little more sleep. The chemicals in our body called melatonin and adenosine regulate the sleep process. As soon as the hormone melatonin enters the bloodstream, the body temperature drops and sleep begins. Certain types of genes are directly related to sleep. Researchers believe that the DEC2 type of gene in a gene determines the duration of sleep. How much sleep will a person get on an average? And what kind of sleep will take? It is based on the DEC2 gene.
There are certain essential Rules for Sleep Quality. Like Why Sleep is needed and how much sleep is required the other important factor is the natural rules of sleep, without which a good night’s sleep is not possible. According to the biological clock that God has given to every living organism, one should sleep only at night and wake up during the day. According to the biological clock, one should sleep when the body temperature starts to drop and the body temperature goes down after dusk and the amount of melatonin hormone in the body increases so that the night time is excellent for sleep.
Ideally you should fall asleep within 10 to 15 minutes after going to bed. Falling asleep as soon as you fall means that your body and mind are under a lot of stress during the day which is not good for health, as well as many people after going to bed. Sleep does not come for hours which may be due to restlessness, excessive stress, lack of happiness in life etc which is also not a good sign of health. Thus falling asleep immediately or not falling asleep for hours, both are against the rules of sleep. Falling asleep in bed after ten to fifteen minutes is a sign of good health.
In addition to this, the arrangement of the bedroom, the arrangement of the lighting, the arrangement of the bed, the proper direction for sleeping, etc. are also important factors that determine sleep. Darkness is a necessary condition for sleep. According to the biological clock, the melatonin hormone begins its function in the dark, reduces body temperature which is a prerequisite for sleep. Also, peace of mind is essential in the bedroom so that the TV or other sounds are not advisable while sleeping. The direction of sleep is also an important factor affecting sleep. The earth has a very large gravitational force. This power has a north pole and a south pole. In the same way our body also has the force of gravity in which the head is the north pole and the feet are the south pole. Which direction we sleep with our head in has a very big and varied effect on our body and mind.
a) When we keep our head in the north direction, the north pole of the earth and the north pole of our body move in the same direction which produces repulsive force in the body. This raises blood pressure causes sleep disorders, causes heart palpitations, and increases the likelihood of nightmares such as fear, violence, and anger. So sleeping with the head facing north is the most damaging factor. That is why in religions, sleeping with the head facing north is considered inauspicious.
b) When we keep our head in the south direction the force of attraction is generated in the body as the north of the earth and body south pole come in a direction which makes the body feel very relaxed. Sleep is good. Blood pressure remains normal. But here the dream comes more so the south direction is not excellent. The south direction is not suitable for celibacy.
c) Sleeping with the head facing east keeps the body neutral from the force of repulsion or attraction so that the best direction for sleeping is east which greatly benefits both body and mind.
d) Ayurveda is silent about the west direction and science has not done enough research in this direction.
It is also important to pay attention to a specific thing regarding sleep rules as scientific research has proven that the last thought or action you take while sleeping at night plays an important role in determining the quality of your sleep. So praying to God at bedtime gives excellent results. Perhaps that is why religions advise remembering God while sleeping at night, apologizing for mistakes made during the day, purifying the mind, and dedicating the whole being to God.
After knowing the need for sleep, its quality, its quantity and useful rules it is necessary to know what can be the reasons for not falling asleep so that its remedy can be done. The main causes of insomnia are as follows. According to a research, 65% of youth and 72% of adults in the world today suffer from insomnia.
1) Less physical work and more mental work.
2) Irregular and artificial lifestyle such as late night party etc.
3) Consumption of heavy meals, fried food, meat, alcohol, etc.
4) Nowadays, people have built many facilities for sleeping such as a good bed, a comfortable mattress-pillow AC, a room without sound-light etc. which are when not available sleep is disturbed.
5) Excessive thoughts done during the day do not let a person sleep at night. Normally a person gets 70,000 thoughts a day. Thoughts should also be properly planned, and thoughts that burden the brain at night should be avoided. Spend some time laughing and joking with the family at night. Also, activities like meditation-BHAJAN-KIRTAN can be useful for good sleep.
If we think about the damage caused by insomnia, many scientific studies show that insomnia first affects a person’s digestion. Many diseases arise due to poor digestion. Insomnia can shorten a person’s lifeline. Insomnia has the worst effect on a person’s quality of life or efficiency. Inadequate sleep makes human nature irritable, restless and hyperactive. The growth process of children slows down. The person waking up at night has a decrease in memory. The qualities of concentration, patience, reasoning etc. fall. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, mental stress, inadequate judgment, forgetfulness and angry temper etc. arise. Beauty is diminished. Inadequate sleep produces free radicals (harmful chemicals) that can lead to hair loss, dark circles under the eyes, skin rashes, wrinkles, glasses, and whitening of the hair. Aging becomes faster. Signs of aging begin to appear early. The body’s metabolic processes become chaotic.
Extensive understanding of sleep suggests that an excellent and appropriate amount of sleep is a blessing in disguise. Sleep gives the body time to recover. During sleep, the metabolism in the body is accelerated so that the growth and development of the body is appropriate. In addition, many research have proved that due to adequate sleep, white blood cells (W.B.C.) are increased which increases the immune system. Adequate sleep is useful in the pursuit of beauty. Dense sleep slows down the aging process that is delaying aging. A person can stay young for a long time with quality sleep. Positivity increases in a person who gets enough sleep. Increases wound healing power. A person who wants to achieve a healthy life should not have sleep irregularities. So let’s learn the art of sleeping on today’s special world sleep day and take a vow of a dense, deep and regular sleep so that world sleep day is truly celebrated.
Shilpa shah, director in-charge, HKBBA College