Thirty Three Percent
Imagine this investment scenario: You’re given $100 at the start of the day. The catch is that you must spend $33 of it without expecting any tangible returns.
However, the remaining $67 can be spent strategically to yield rewards based on your decisions and risk-taking abilities. The twist lies in how you spend that initial $33, as it governs the returns you can make out of the remaining $67.
Now, let’s take a step back and consider this scenario in a different context.
We all have 24 hours in a day, and on average, we spend about 8 hours sleeping, which accounts for approximately 33% of our time.
Just as your spending decisions influence the returns you make in the investment scenario, your sleep patterns have a significant impact on your waking productivity.
With that in mind, would you plan and optimize your spend of those crucial 8 hours dedicated to sleep?
The parallels between the investment scenario and our daily lives become apparent. By recognizing the value of sleep and understanding its impact on our overall well-being, we can unlock greater returns in terms of our physical and mental performance throughout the day.
During the recent interviews, all the experts talked about the importance of sleep, so we tried to dig a little deep.
Scratching the data surface:
The entire humanity spends (almost)33% of their time sleeping.
Only 35% of the population has regular adequate sleep, which leaves 2 out of 3 people having issues with sleep.
Dr. Shalini started her career in finance and has shifted her attention to help people dealing with behavioral, emotional, and mental challenges.
Dr. Arvind Gautam has served the air force psychiatry division for over a decade and currently runs his own specialty clinic, his current focus and mission is to prevent mental disorders and promote mental health literacy in society.
Consequences of Inadequate Sleep
The impact of inadequate sleep extends far beyond feeling groggy or tired during the day. Sleep deprivation can have profound consequences on various aspects of our lives. For instance, sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and compromised immune function.
Additionally, insufficient sleep can impair cognitive function, memory consolidation, and attention span, leading to decreased productivity and lower academic or professional performance. Moreover, sleep disturbances have been associated with mood disorders, including depression and anxiety. Recognizing the potential repercussions of inadequate sleep highlights the importance of prioritizing healthy sleep habits and seeking necessary support to optimize our well-being.
Types of Sleep Disorders
Understanding the various sleep disorders can shed light on the complexities of sleep issues.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common sleep disorders:
Insomnia: Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing non-restorative sleep. It can be caused by factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, or certain medical conditions.
Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. It can lead to fragmented sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, and even contribute to cardiovascular problems.
Parasomnia: Parasomnias encompass a range of abnormal behaviors that occur during sleep, such as sleepwalking, night terrors, or sleep talking. These episodes can disrupt sleep quality and pose safety risks.
Narcolepsy: This is a sleep disorder that is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness.
Restless legs syndrome: This is a sleep disorder that is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs.
Sleepwalking: This is a sleep disorder that is characterized by walking or performing other activities while asleep.
Insomnia, Hypersomnia, Circadian rhythm, Parasomnia, Sleep Apnea are some common issues.
Night tremors also known as hypnic jerks, sleepwalking, and sleep paralysis are some of the more serious disorders.
Snoring requires an evaluation especially if the person suffers from obesity.
Tell us a little about the science of sleep
Life is a cycle of wakefulness and sleep, both are equally important. Sleep is the body’s mechanism to repair itself. Just like hunger is the body’s mechanism to strengthen itself. Sleep happens in different phases and must be learned and understood well. Just as one would do to learn what is good to eat.
Life is a cyclical rhythm of wakefulness and sleep. Sleep is not merely a state of unconsciousness but a vital mechanism through which our bodies repair and rejuvenate themselves. Just as hunger is the body’s signal to replenish itself, sleep is the body’s way of strengthening and restoring its various systems. To truly reap the benefits of sleep, we must delve into its different phases and gain a deeper understanding of this essential process.
What are sleep cycles?
Every organism adheres to its own unique pattern of falling asleep and waking up, following a 24-hour cycle known as the circadian rhythm. This natural occurrence is influenced by various factors, including mental, physical, and environmental stimuli. By recognizing the importance of this inherent rhythm, we can work towards establishing a harmonious sleep-wake cycle that aligns with our biological needs.
Rhythm plays a vital role in our lives, and it is essential for us to synchronize our sleep-wake patterns with our circadian rhythm. Numerous psychological disturbances can stem from sleep disorders or disruptions to this delicate balance. Addressing the sleep-wakefulness patterns can often serve as the first line of treatment for conditions such as bipolar disorder, laying the foundation for recovery.
To honor our biological rhythm, we should strive to maintain a consistent sleep-wake cycle. Minimize manipulation with our natural sleep patterns, ensuring that sunlight is associated with wakefulness and the night is designated for sleep. Additionally, practicing good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding stimulating activities or heavy meals before bedtime, can help promote a healthy circadian rhythm.
By comprehending the intricacies of sleep cycles, we can appreciate the importance of each phase in the restoration and maintenance of our physical and mental well-being. Just as we learn what foods are nourishing for our bodies, we must also learn how to nurture our sleep patterns for optimal health.
Tell us about the circadian cycle and sleep.
Every organism follows a particular pattern of falling asleep and waking up, this occurs every 24 hours considering the stability of mental, physical, and environmental stimuli. This occurrence is known as the circadian cycle.
Rhythm is very important in life. Everyone should work on sleep-wakefulness rhythm. Every psychological disturbance arises from a sleep disorder. As much as possible try to stick to your biological rhythm. The beginning of psychological disorders is to address the sleep rhythm. For instance, Bipolar disorder’s first treatment is the treatment of sleep-wakefulness patterns, which helps in recovery.
Tell us about sleep hygiene.
In the past there were global health issues arising out of infections due to contaminated food and water, one simple measure was to ensure basic hygiene.
There are efforts that need to be taken to maintain a sleep cycle as close as to the natural rhythm. Sunlight is for work and night is for sleep. Too much manipulation with nature can disturb your sleeping pattern.
- Maintain a similar sleep-wake cycle
- Avoid exciting music, drama, or news on TV
- Avoid heavy dinner caffeine or alcohol near bedtime
- Power down gadgets prior to bed time
- Ensure balanced nutrition
- Keep the sleeping area neat, and low-lit
- If you face issues sleeping read a book or turn on soothing music until you fall asleep
- If any issue(work, relationship or anything) is bothering you talk to a trusted source
- Good amount of Sunlight
- Shorter daytime naps
- Ensure normal room temperature
- Fix the bed and pillow to comfortable levels
- Have enough physical exercise during the day
What happens in the human body during the stages of sleep?
As a person falls asleep and crossing the dozing off stage that last around 5 to 10 minutes in a healthy individual, he/she enters the non-rem stage which lasts for 20 to 30 mins, where the body temperature starts to drop, the heartbeats and muscle movement slowly drop the eyeballs stop moving and the body relaxes completely.
The brain functions slow down too and the person moves into the 3rd stage of sleep known as the slow-wave mode which lasts for around 30 to 40 mins. This stage is extremely important for the restoration of body cells, immunity, wear and tear. This is the part when the body is at its lowest movement and temperature.
It is also in this phase that a person may have difficulty waking up. This stage shortens slowly and the person moves to the Rem stage where the body temperature starts picking up, the brain functions start too. While the other muscles of the body remain in relaxed mode, the eyeballs move and the breathing continues. This is when the brain narrates the activities of the last 24 to 48 hours from its memory bank in the form of dreams.
Although the eyes are closed the person sleeping can see visuals clearly which he/she sometimes may remember even when woken up. This stage is the longest in the sleep cycle and is critical for cleaning up cognitive, memory, and mental functions.
The human body goes through a series of stages during sleep, each with its own unique set of physiological changes. These stages are:
NREM1: This is the lightest stage of sleep, and it is characterized by a slowing of the heart rate, breathing, and brain waves. Muscle activity also decreases during this stage.
NREM2: This stage is characterized by a further slowing of the heart rate, breathing, and brain waves. Muscle activity decreases even more during this stage.
NREM3: This is the deepest stage of sleep, and it is characterized by very slow brain waves and very little muscle activity.
REM: This is the stage of sleep in which dreams occur. The heart rate, breathing, and brain waves become more rapid during this stage. Muscle activity is suppressed, except for the eyes, which move rapidly from side to side.
The stages of sleep are not always neatly divided, and there can be some overlap between them. The average person goes through four to five sleep cycles per night, with each cycle lasting about 90 minutes.
The first three stages of sleep make up non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and the fourth stage is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
During NREM sleep, the body repairs itself and consolidates memories. During REM sleep, the brain is active and dreaming occurs. Dreaming is thought to be important for emotional processing and creativity.
Getting enough sleep is essential for good health. When people do not get enough sleep, they can experience a range of problems, including fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and impaired judgment. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and stroke.
What are the signs and symptoms shown by people with sleep disorders?
There are various signs and symptoms starting from the inability to sleep to the inability to wake up. Restlessness, anxiety and as the disorder progresses, they may see memory loss, dizziness, hallucinations, etc.
How does one know if it is time to see a therapist for a sleep disorder?
Sleep issues may persist and may lead to long-term anxiety and depression. If the person notices anything that isn’t normal for more than 3 days, despite following basic sleep hygiene which impacts the normal functioning of the person, then try to visit a primary care physician. The doctor may evaluate the situation and will either treat or make a referral.
What are some remedies for common sleep disorders?
Most times the therapist will prescribe medication and counseling to help the person sleep while also evaluate what is causing the disorder.
Why do we dream?
Dr. Segmund Freud pioneered the discipline of dreams and fantasies, but this is an era of biological psychiatry focus is more on them. Coming to dreams, most dreams are Rapid Eye Movements. Nightmares and Sleep terrors need to be taken seriously. I don’t subscribe much to the fact that Dreams are a memory recap of all the events that happened in the past 24 to 48 hours along with the emotions, feelings, and fears associated with those events. They can also be memories from long ago that still remain clearly in the unconscious mind.
How to avoid bad / excessive dreaming?
There could be a hidden psychological issue. Some stressors are deeply hidden in the person’s psyche, analysing the life events and gradually making peace with them can help. Talking to a counselor will help bring out memories and experiences that influence dreaming. Once those issues are resolved and a better lifestyle is achieved, the person will see a change in the dreaming pattern.
What is it that you personally practice on a daily basis to ensure your own emotional health?
Meditation, Journaling, and speaking to a trusted person about my emotions and daily happenings help me express and stops suppression. I follow a very strict fitness regime and also watch my diet which helps.
However, there still may be nights when I won’t sleep the best. Getting stressed about not getting sleep and not sleeping because of it, is more common than any sleep disorder. If I haven’t slept for more than 2 nights well, I take time out to evaluate what is causing the disturbance without ignoring it or worrying too much about it. Taking action most times solves a lot.
In-Depth Discussion on Therapeutic Approaches
When it comes to managing sleep disorders, seeking the guidance of a qualified therapist or sleep specialist can be immensely beneficial. One commonly recommended therapeutic approach is cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). This evidence-based treatment focuses on identifying and addressing the underlying thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that contribute to sleep difficulties.
CBT-I typically involves a combination of techniques, including sleep restriction therapy, stimulus control, relaxation training, and cognitive restructuring. Through CBT-I, individuals can learn effective coping strategies to improve their sleep quality and establish healthier sleep patterns.
Additionally, therapists may explore other therapeutic modalities tailored to individual needs. These may include mindfulness-based interventions, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, to promote relaxation and alleviate anxiety before bedtime. Furthermore, techniques like imagery rehearsal therapy can assist individuals in managing nightmares and sleep-related distress.
Remember, consulting with a therapist allows for personalized assessment and treatment planning, ensuring that the approach aligns with your specific sleep concerns and goals. A therapist can provide the necessary guidance and support to help you regain control over your sleep and improve your overall well-being.
The Multifaceted Impact of Sleep on Well-Being
Understanding the intricate relationship between sleep and overall well-being is crucial. Sleep affects not only our physical health but also our mental and emotional states. Adequate sleep plays a pivotal role in emotional regulation, stress management, immune function, memory consolidation, and learning processes.
During sleep, the brain consolidates memories and processes information, leading to improved cognitive performance and problem-solving abilities. Quality sleep promotes mental clarity and enhances creativity, allowing us to approach challenges with renewed vigor. Moreover, sufficient restorative sleep supports our immune system, helping to ward off illnesses and maintain optimal physical health.
Sleep also influences our emotional well-being. Lack of sleep can exacerbate stress levels, leaving us more vulnerable to mood swings, irritability, and difficulties in managing emotions. Conversely, a good night’s sleep can enhance our resilience and emotional stability, empowering us to navigate life’s ups and downs with greater ease.
Recognizing the far-reaching impact of sleep on our well-being underscores the importance of prioritizing and optimizing our sleep habits. By cultivating healthy sleep practices, we can foster a harmonious balance between mind and body, allowing for improved overall functioning and a higher quality of life.
Honoring Individual Sleep Needs
While it is often recommended to aim for an average of 8 hours of sleep per night, it’s important to recognize that individual sleep needs can vary. Each person has a unique sleep requirement that should be respected and honored.
Some individuals may find that they function best with slightly less sleep, while others may require a bit more. Factors such as age, genetics, lifestyle, and overall health can influence an individual’s optimal sleep duration. It’s essential to pay attention to your body’s signals and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.
One effective approach is to establish a consistent sleep routine that aligns with your individual needs. Determine a sleep duration that leaves you feeling refreshed and alert upon awakening. Experiment with different sleep durations, gradually adjusting until you find what works best for you. Remember, the goal is to wake up feeling rested and rejuvenated, ready to take on the day ahead.
By respecting your individual sleep needs, you can ensure that you are providing your body and mind with the restorative sleep they require, promoting optimal functioning and well-being.
Debunking Myths and Nurturing Healthy Habits
As we navigate the realm of sleep, it is crucial to separate fact from fiction. Many myths and misconceptions surround the realm of sleep hygiene, hindering our ability to achieve restful nights and productive days. By debunking these common misconceptions, we can adopt healthier habits and pave the way for improved sleep quality.
One prevalent myth is the notion that we can catch up on lost sleep during the weekends. Unfortunately, sleep does not function like a bank account that can be deposited or withdrawn at will. Consistency is key, and trying to compensate for sleep debt with irregular sleep schedules can further disrupt our circadian rhythm and lead to ongoing sleep issues.
Another myth revolves around the idea that the older we get, the less sleep we need. While it is true that sleep patterns can change with age, the amount of sleep required remains relatively constant across the adult lifespan. As individuals, we must prioritize quality sleep regardless of our age, allowing our bodies and minds to reap the rejuvenating benefits of rest.
By debunking these myths and embracing evidence-based practices, such as creating a comfortable sleep environment, establishing a relaxing pre-sleep routine, and limiting exposure to screens before bedtime, we can nurture healthy sleep hygiene and cultivate a more restful and productive life.
Sleep plays a crucial role in our lives, affecting productivity and well-being. Insufficient sleep can lead to chronic conditions, impaired cognitive function, decreased productivity, and mood disorders.
Common sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy can disrupt sleep quality and overall well-being.
To improve sleep, practicing good sleep hygiene is important. This includes maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime, and creating a conducive sleep environment.
Understanding the science of sleep and its different phases can help us prioritize our sleep for better physical and mental health.
Seeking help from a therapist or sleep specialist is recommended if sleep disorders persist. Therapies like CBT-I, mindfulness-based interventions, and imagery rehearsal therapy can be beneficial.
Sleep impacts various aspects of our well-being, including physical health, cognitive performance, emotional regulation, stress management, and immune function.
Individual sleep needs should be respected, as everyone has unique requirements. Prioritizing sleep can enhance overall functioning and quality of life.
Recognizing the value of sleep and taking steps to prioritize it can lead to better physical and mental performance throughout the day.
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