Sleep is not on everybody’s list of top priorities. However, it is a necessity for the well-being of the mind and body. Good quality sleep helps repair and recharge the body.
Sleep is determined by our body clock, which is based on the 24 hour rotation of the earth. This circadian rhythm informs our body when it is time to sleep and wake up.
The kind of demands our current lifestyle makes on us has led to sleep deprivation.We are often surrounded by environmental triggers such as light and noise that lead to poor sleep quality.
As per a study conducted by The Nielsen Company 93 per cent of urban Indians in the age group of 35-65 years were sleep deprived (Varshney, Bahuguna, 2017). There are also several myths surrounding sleep. For instance, snoring is often considered to be a sign of deep sleep. However, snoring is an indication of OSA or obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that is linked to ailments like diabetes and cardio-vascular disease (Shah, Bang, Bhagat, 2010). This is something that negatively impacts an individual’s health.
Some Signs of Sleep Deprivation:
An increase in anxiety and depression
Increased day-time sleepiness and increased error rate at work
Significant increase in sleeping hours on weekends
Negative Impacts of Sleep Deprivation:
Sleep deprivation has a direct impact on both mental and physiological health. Following are some of the negative impacts of sleep deprivation (Shah, Bang, Bhagat, 2010).
Poor decision making and memory
Poor mood appropriate behaviour
Negative thinking and emotional vulnerability, increase in risk of suicidal ideation
Risk factor increase for hypertension
Increases gastric ulcers, alters cardiac parameters and body metabolism
Increases risk of breast malignancy and alters reproductive physiology. Sleep deprivation is also linked to prostate and colorectal cancers
Poor sleep quality is both cause and effect of Type II diabetes mellitus
Predates obesity in the future
Risk factor increase for Alzheimer's disease
It is pertinent that organisations understand the importance of sleep for employees. Other than their mental and physiological health, sleep deprivation also affects productivity at work by causing impairment of cognitive and logical reasoning skills, poor judgment, compromised decision making and diminished ability to communicate and/or process information (Circadian White Paper).
By empowering employees to improve and prioritise their sleep, organisations contribute towards employees’ work-life balance and help ensure that employee health and productivity is good.
Some Tips for Improved Sleep Quality - How to sleep better
It is important to maintain `sleep hygiene'. This means maintaining a sleeping routine and sleep duration.
Going to bed and waking up at fixed times every day
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine and not using the bed for activities such as working on the laptop
Going to bed when tired
Maintaining a comfortable sleeping environment that's not too hot or cold
Reducing noise in the bedroom
Not taking naps during the day
Avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the evening
Avoiding heavy meals late at night
Reducing exposure to artificial lights
Increasing exposure to natural light (Klein, 2017)
The urgency and need to maintain good sleep quality can’t be stressed enough in daily life. Following a few key steps and building these into a routine will go a long way in letting your body get the rest and recharge it requires to function well.
Varshney, V., & Bahuguna, K. (2017, March 15). Down To Earth | Latest news, opinion, analysis on environment & science issues | India, South Asia. For a good night's sleep. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from http://www.downtoearth.org.in/coverage/for-a-good-night-s-sleep-57314
Shah, N., Bang, A., & Bhagat , A. (2010, January ). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Indian research on sleep disorders. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3146237/
Rothstein , N.H. (2018, March 27). HuffPost - Breaking News, U.S. and World News | HuffPost. Resolve to Respect Your Sleep in 2017 | HuffPost. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/resolve-to-respect-your-sleep-in-2017_us_5869cab3e4b068764965c324
Rothstein , N.H. (n.d.). Circadian. The ROI of a Good Night's Sleep. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from http://www.circadian.com/blog/item/56-the-roi-of-a-good-nights-sleep.html
Circadian White Paper
Coping with Shift Work. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sleepcenter.ucla.edu/coping-with-shift-work
Klein, S. (2017, December 07). The 37 Best Tips For Better Sleep Tonight. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/better-sleep-tips-best_n_4958036