Sunday, 27 May 2012

SLEEP well, refresh and start afresh.

In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.

Sleep is one of the body’s most basic needs for health and well-being, yet with today’s busy lifestyles, sleep deprivation has become all too common. In fact, nearly half of all adults report having difficulty sleeping.
While we think of sleep as a relaxing and passive state, there is actually quite a lot going on in the body during sleep.

There are five stages of sleep defined by brain wave activity, muscle tone, and eye movement.

Stage one is referred to as drowsy sleep and represents the onset of sleep. During stage two, conscious awareness of the external environment disappears. During stages three and four, the body goes into a deeper sleep, and the brain produces what are called delta waves. Delta sleep is our deepest sleep, the point when our brain waves are least like what they are when we are awake. It is during this time that the body’s major organs and regulatory systems are busy working on repair and regeneration and certain hormones, such as growth hormone, are secreted. Stage five, known as REM (rapid eye movement), is the stage during which we dream.

The exact amount of sleep needed varies among individuals, but is thought to be between seven and nine hours. Getting less than six hours is associated with health problems.
An occasional sleepless night is not a concern, but persistent difficulty in falling asleep, waking up too early, awakening frequently during the night, or waking up feeling tired and not refreshed could indicate insomnia.

Lack of sleep, particularly deep (delta) sleep, not only makes us feel tired, but it has serious consequences such as memory loss, poor concentration, depression, headache, irritability, increased response to stress, high blood pressure, depressed immune function, and low libido. More recently sleep deprivation has been linked to obesity due to hormonal changes that reduce metabolism and increase appetite. Animal studies have also shown that sleep deprivation can lead to death within two to three weeks—a similar time frame for death due to starvation.

Causes of Insomnia
There are many factors that can affect the quality of sleep such as stress, medical problems (depression, anxiety), medications, alcohol, poor nutrition, noise/light, the need to go to the bathroom during the night, and poor sleep hygiene (going to bed at different times).
Tips for a Better Night’s Rest
For a good night’s sleep, consider the following:
• Establish a regular bedtime and wake time.
• Do relaxing activities before bed—read a book, have a warm bath, or meditate.
• Reserve your bedroom for intimacy and sleep only. Don’t watch TV, read, or do
computer work in your bedroom.
• Make your bedroom dark, quiet, and comfortable.
• Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, pop, chocolate) and smoking within four hours of bed-
time, as this can affect your ability to fall asleep.
• Avoid alcohol; it may help you fall asleep, but drinking alcohol causes nighttime wakening and reduces sleep quality.
• Exercise regularly early in the day. Do not exercise in the evening, as this can be stimulating.
• If you work shifts or travel to different time zones, try a supplement of melatonin (a hormone naturally secreted in response to darkness), as it helps promote good sleep.

It takes 26 muscles to smile, and 62 muscles to frown, sleep well to manifest both vibrantly.