A good night's sleep is very essential for the body and mind to recharge and be ready to function to its full extent each day. Though the constant change in lifestyles has removed the fixed sleep hours, it is still advisable that for a healthy lifestyle, about 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep is essential. Studies reveal that about 60% of the UK population is sleep deprived, getting 6 or fewer hours of sleep. Further, studies have shown that there is a good correlation between a person's food habits and sleep pattern.
While some foods are good at inducing sleep, there are others which help you reduce the fatigue that sleeplessness brings in. The following is a list of foods with the most significant benefits outlined.
It is always advised to maintain a lifestyle that allows you to recharge your body with the required amount of sleep. The benefits of good night sleep cannot be denied or hidden. On rare occasions, these alternatives could come in handy, both to induce sleep and to fight the fatigue arising out of a lack of it.
Guilty about taking daytime naps? Don’t be, it’s good for you! Sleep is important for good health – it improves your immune function and prevents the risk of a range of disorders. You must know this already. While at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night is vital, in case you miss the mark, a nap during the daytime (usually lasting for 15-90 minutes) can also benefit you a great deal. It improves the functioning of your brain ranging from focus, memory to creativity.
Is it normal to nap in the afternoon?
Napping in the afternoon is completely normal. Many times, it happens so that you are unable to get a good night’s sleep and feel drowsy the next morning. You may feel the need to rejuvenate yourself. Morning naps are great in this regard. The longer the nap, the more you will feel energized.
Here is why you feel better after a nap –
• A brief nap brings down your stress levels
• Boosts your energy levels
• Relaxes the body
• Lifts up your mood
• Improves performance and alertness
Taking a daytime nap occasionally is fine. However, napping every day may not be too good for you. It may have adverse effects on your health and sleep pattern, such as sleep inertia and insomnia. People, who make sleeping during the day a habit, often, tend to become disoriented and groggy after waking up. One of the most commonly asked questions is – ‘Do you gain weight if you sleep in the afternoon?’ The answer to this question is no. Napping in the afternoon does not necessarily make you gain weight. In fact, it is the other way around. Studies report that people who nap in the afternoon observe a lower incidence of obesity than those who do not. Afternoon naps help lower the levels of cortisol – the stress hormone. Nevertheless, you should not take a nap immediately after having lunch. Your body needs time to digest the food you eat, and so it is best to lie down at least an hour after you have your meal.
Is it better to nap or sleep longer at night?
While a short nap of about half an hour does improve alertness, mood and performance, it does not necessarily make up for poor quality or inadequate sleep during the night. Therefore, besides taking short naps throughout the day, it is imperative that you get eight hours of sleep at night. The link between Daytime Naps and Better Decision Making, Health experts now state that short naps may help you make better decisions in life. Scientists, with the help of new-age technologies, are now examining where learning occurs in the brain, and how inadequate sleep impedes with the brain’s neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to adapt and respond to the stimuli received from the surroundings. Scientists have located specific memories and build them up with the help of auditory cues, while the volunteers for the study are asleep.
Now, a new intriguing study has put all its focus on how short naps affect your brain processes unconscious information, which we are consciously not aware of. The study also examines the impact of naps on one’s reaction time and conscious behaviour.
Volunteers were recruited for the study and each was assigned two tasks. The first one referred to as the ‘masked prime task’ where the researchers present information to the volunteers for a very brief duration so that they get little time to consciously register the information. In the second task (control task), the volunteers were asked to respond when shown a blue or red square on the screen.
After this, the volunteers took a nap for 90 minutes or stayed awake, and then repeated the same task. The researchers assessed their brain activity prior to and after the nap with the help of an electroencephalogram.
The findings of the study were remarkable. It concluded that naps did not increase the speed of processing information in the control task, but the effects were just the opposite in the masked prime task. This suggests, that daytime naps particularly help you process information that you acquire consciously. Even sleeping for a brief span of time may aid you in processing information, improve your reaction time, and potentially influence one’s behaviour when awake. These further strengthen the idea that the information we perceive in a conscious state of mind gets processed while we are asleep, and that sleep helps in decision making when we are awake.
Therefore, the next time you feel like taking a break in between your work, do not hesitate. Even a 10-15 minute nap can leave you energized for the rest of the day and you might just be able to make some of the best decisions of your life!
Every day we get to learn something new or the other, but did you know you could learn even when you are asleep? Sounds too good to be true? But it’s proven now! Researchers suggest that sleep plays a vital role in the learning process, and it can help you grasp new words and information during deep sleep. This is because the brain’s learning channels are open even during sleep.
While we are asleep, our brain organizes and consolidates events and information we encountered throughout the day. Important, relevant information is filed away, while things that are of little or no importance are eliminated in the process, making room for new learning.
Establishing a Connection between Sleep and Learning
A study was conducted on 41 healthy females and males to examine whether humans can establish a meaningful connection between foreign words or language and their translation in deep sleep or slow-wave sleep – the stage where people are not much conscious of their surroundings. German-speaking participants were put to sleep to the audio clip of pairs of pseudowords for non-existent foreign words and their meaning. The objective of the study was to find out if these words would leave a trace on the participants’ memories, even when he/she was unconscious. After waking up, the participants were given the pseudowords (this time without the translation). The participants had no knowledge of the recording being played during their sleep; therefore, they were not aware that the brain had heard some of these words earlier. They were asked to imagine the object denoted by the pseudoword and guess whether it was larger or smaller than a shoebox. This approach allowed the researchers to tap into the participants’ unconscious memories.
Researchers found that participants were able to classify the foreign words correctly, at a 10% higher accuracy rate than random chance, for as long they heard the words precisely during deep sleep. This suggests that the approach caused the brain to create memory traces or a few changes in the portion of the brain that stores memories. For example, if you present the sleeping participants with two words, ‘bird’ (a known word) and ‘biktum’ (a pseudoword), then their brain can form an association between the two. This memory trace formed during sleep continues into the following wakefulness and influences the way you react to the foreign word (in this case, ‘biktum’ is the word) although you might think you have never heard of that word before. It is an unconscious, implicit form of memory, pretty much like a gut feeling.
Timing is Crucial
When you are in deep sleep, your brain alters between ‘down state’ and ‘up state’ every half a second. The brain is interconnected and highly active during the up states, which means it is at the prime of learning new stuff. The more you hit an up state, the better you memorize things. To put it simply, people are more likely to classify the words they hear during the peak of one’s slow wave sleep correctly than the ones they hear during the periods when the brain activity is less optimal.
The study indeed gave us a striking revelation – the concept of ‘sleep learning’ may be more than just fiction. However, whether one can learn explicit information and new foreign words faster during wakefulness, provided the words/information are already presented to them during sleep, is yet to be examined.
People often underestimate the need for sleep. Sleep is as important as any other activity. Without proper sleep, your performance level can go way down the line. It can even hamper your performance in the bed.
Most people do not know it, but there is a deep relation between sex and sleep. People always tend to cut their bedtime just to get done with a few more things. But, doing this can have adverse effects on your sex life.
Here are some reasons that are tempting enough to make you go to your bed at the proper time and for a proper amount of time:
1. Lack of sleep has a direct impact on libido
Less sleep means that your body does not get the chance to completely revive itself from the earlier day of work. This, in turn, can mean fatigue and crankiness. These feelings can decrease your interest in sex overall. A condition called ‘tense tiredness’, which is caused by the combination of increased tension and decreased energy, can also at times lead to sexual dysfunction.
2. Less sleep can hamper your hormone levels
Even after getting six to seven hours of sleep each night, one can suffer from a chronic sleep condition. A condition like this can affect the testosterone levels in both men and women. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for sex drive. Any disturbance in the hormone level can lead to both bad performance in bed and less of interest in any sexual activity.
3. A sleepless night is equal to a foul mood
It is no breaking news to anyone that a sleepless night results in a foul mood the next day. If you feel sleepy and fatigued all day, there is hardly any way that you would think about having sex in such a situation. For people with a chronic sleep disorder, this can become a regular phenomenon.
4. Sleep deprivation can lead to a weaker immunity system
Studies suggest that people with chronic sleep disorder often are diagnosed with a weak immune system. This makes the person susceptible to diseases. A sick person would have very less or no interest in engaging in sexual activities. Neither would anyone like to be with a person who has the cold most of the time.
5. Lack of sleep can contribute to depression
It is very important to have sound mental health in order to have a happening sexual life. Researchers have revealed that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to depression. In such a case, not only the person loses interest in sex, but also when they engage in sex, they tend to have less pleasure from the act.
People underestimate the need for sleep, and they think it is okay to skip a few hours of sleep. But, if you want to have a good sex life, you just cannot cut down on these hours.
Snoring is something that not only spoils the sleep of your partner but leaves you embarrassed while travelling or any family gatherings. It is more popular among males but these days, women are also facing this issue. The problem only worsens with age and weight. On the other hand, the person suffering from Sleep Apnoea not only affects his and his partner's sleep but puts his life at risk.
Difference Between Sleep Apnoea And Snoring:
There is a huge difference between just Snorers and those suffering from Sleep Apnoea. Sleep Apnoea almost always results in frequent and loud snoring, while disturbing the breathing pattern. This leads the person suffering from Sleep Apnoea to feel tired even after long sleeping hours.
While Sleep Apnoea will almost always lead to loud snoring, snoring alone does not mean that one is suffering from Sleep Apnoea.
Causes And Symptoms
● When a person sleeps, the throat muscles relax and the tongue bends backwards. This narrows down the throat to some extent.
● As the person keeps inhaling and exhaling, the throat muscles vibrate. These vibrations lead to snoring. The narrower the throat becomes, the more are the vibrations and the sound.
● The throat muscles tend to relax more with age. This is why snoring usually increases with age.
● If a person has obstructions in the form of Tonsils, Nasal polyps or Deviated nasal septum, the narrowing gets worse and leads to extensive snoring.
● If there is an inflammation in the throat or nose due to some infection or allergy, the throat may become narrower and result in loud snoring.
● In some people, sleeping positions like sleeping on the back or otherwise may abate snoring.
● Alcohol consumption during evening time may abate throat muscle relaxation and give rise to snoring.
● It is better described as episodes of pauses in breathing for more than 10 seconds at a time.
● The immediate cause of Sleep Apnoea is extensive narrowing or complete collapse of the upper airway.
● As breathing is paused temporarily, it causes a shortfall of Oxygen in blood. As it happens, the heart works harder to make up for it, even when the person is sleeping. This increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
● It causes disturbance in the natural sleep cycle.
● Avoidance of risk factors like various allergies
● Correction of sleeping position with training
● The most common treatment is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). This is a mask like device worn on the nose before sleep. It keeps the upper airway open with a small positive pressure delivered.
● There is also the option of Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. This is a surgical intervention to remove excess of soft palate tissue and open up the airway. The remaining tissue becomes stiff and thus minimize vibration.
● If there is a Tonsil or Deviated Nasal Septum or Nasal Polyp, it needs to be resected out in order to minimize obstruction to the airway.
Snoring and Sleep Apnoea are very common issues and can be treated by experienced doctors very easily.
Ways to diagnose snoring and sleep apnoea:
The doctors ask about the allergies you are suffering from, as well as your eating patterns, medicines and drinking and smoking habits. The doctor also examines your throat and nasal passages to ascertain if there are any kind of nasal, dental, mouth jaw, or throat deformities that are triggering your snoring. If your doctor will feel that you may be suffering from sleep apnoea, then your partner may be asked to keep a diary noting your sleeping and snoring patterns.
Polysomnography and CPAP Titration are some other ways through which the doctors diagnose sleep apnoea.
Polysomnography: Polysomnography, also called a sleep study, is a type of test that is conducted to diagnose sleep disorders. In this test, the doctors record the brain waves, the oxygen level in the blood, heart rate and breathing, as well as eye and leg movements of the patient.
CPAP Titration: A CPAP titration study is a type of in-lab sleep study that is carried out to calibrate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. It is a common treatment that is used to manage sleep-related breathing disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and hypoventilation and hypoxemia.
In case you find out that you are suffering from snoring or sleep apnoea, you should immediately visit a pulmonologist to get the proper treatment.
Ebooks can be a lot easier to carry, and with the emerging trend of Kindles, it may appear to be more convenient than paperbacks, but the smell of new books, the texture of its pristine pages, is unparalleled to the inanimateness of ebooks. But that is not just why you must choose paperbacks over ebooks.
Read on to find out why paperbacks work well over ebooks for better eye health.
Exercises to improve eye health
There are many common measures people take to improve their eyesight or improve their vision. These include wearing glasses, lenses, sunglasses and many such measures. Here are some effective exercises which prove to be highly beneficial in increasing your eye health:
1. Stretching: This is the most common and also one of the easiest to do. It requires you to just look up, hold for two seconds, look down, hold for two seconds, then repeat this procedure for each corner of your eye, which means top-left, top-right, bottom-left and bottom-right corners.
2. Flexing: This is simply rotating your eyes in circles. Roll your eyes in the clockwise direction for one minute and then roll your eyes in the anticlockwise direction for one minute.
3. Focus switching: This particular eye exercise is used for accommodation and is probably the most useful one. In this eye exercise, you have to hold something at a reading distance and cover the other eye. You then have to find something that is at least twenty feet away and trace its shape with one eye closed. With one eye closed, trace more shapes which are twenty feet away and this may improve your eyesight.
4. Palming: This exercise is also very simple to perform. All you have to do is cover your eyes with your palms. Once you have done this, just wait and see that there are no bright flashes of light. If you see that there is a bright flash of light, just wait till they go. This is used primarily to destress the eyes.
5. Deep blinking: This is also an incredibly useful exercise for distance vision. All you have to do is to place some large letters at a fair distance and then sit on a chair. You have to then close your eyes and tighten all your muscles for 5 seconds. After the gap of 5 seconds, open your eyes and see the letters for a second or two. The more time you do this, the more clearly you will be able to see the letters after reopening your eyes.
Finally, a warning has to be given that these eye treatments are not universally accepted by all doctors.
Ebooks are a lot easier to carry, and with the emerging trend of Kindles, it may appear to be more convenient than paperbacks, but the smell of new books, the texture of its pristine pages, is unparalleled to the inanimateness of ebooks. But that is not just why you must choose paperbacks over ebooks. Read on to find out why paperbacks work well over ebooks for better eye health.
Exercises to improve eye health -
There are many common measures people take to improve their eyesight or improve their vision. These include wearing glasses, lenses, sunglasses and many such measures.
Here are some effective exercises which prove to be highly beneficial in increasing your eye health:
Finally, a warning has to be given that these eye treatments are not universally accepted by all doctors.