February 22 2021
In today’s world, out of the many changes in people’s lifestyle, The biological clock is one which makes a considerable amount of difference in our health. The biological clock or the sleep-wake cycle is regulated and controlled by a suprachiasmatic nucleus. It is a group of cells present in the hypothalamus, which responds to signals, both light and dark. Now, here’s some information about the sleep cycle.
The sleep cycle
The sleep cycle comprises five stages, wherein stages one and two consist of light sleep, stage three and four consist of deep sleep and stage five is all about the rapid eye movement, or REM.
- Stage 1: this stage is all about light, calm sleep. The movement of the eyes and muscle activity is quite slow and it’s easy to wake the person up.
- Stage 2: the second stage is when our body starts to prepare itself for deep The heart rate, eye movements and brain waves slow down. The temperature of the human body also drops down.
- Stage 3: stage three is the official onset of the deep sleep. Here, delta waves (extremely slow waves) are intermixed with faster and smaller waves.
- Stage 4: The brain produces extremely slow delta waves in this stage. In the entire duration of this stage, the person is in deep sleep.
- Stage 5: this is the final stage of the sleep cycle, also called the rapid eye movement stage. Here, eyes move very fast from side to side because of the intense dreaming and brain activity.
Do you sleep properly?
Now, what if the sleep cycle of a person isn’t healthy?
What if you’re not taking 7-8 hours sleep or whatever duration suits you? Well, sometimes we don’t get proper sleep due to many factors such as stress, anxiety etc. but, what if these issues persist for a long time?
This condition of lack of sleep is called insomnia. It is a sleeping disorder which is directly linked to the trouble falling asleep. It can be acute, as well as chronic and, is a very common condition. Insomnia can affect both your mental and physical health, if left untreated. Sometimes, if lifestyle changes are made in acute insomnia, they’re enough to treat the same. However, sometimes, supplements of melatonin can also prove to be helpful.
Alensleep sleeping pills are one such supplement. It comes in the quantity of 100 grams, and in soft gel form. Per serving of these pills, you get 10 mg of melatonin, which is able to cure insomnia. The usage depends on the recommendation or direction of your dietician. However, if the problem is very serious, a proper medical assistance is recommended.
About melatonin: it is a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle. It is released by the pineal gland. Dark surroundings increase the production of melatonin in the body, which in turn signals the body to sleep. Light surroundings decrease the production of melatonin, which signals the body to waken up. It is a common query put up by people- is it safe to take melatonin? Needless to say, it is generally safe to take it, but just to cure acute insomnia, only on the prescription of a dietician. As melatonin levels rise, it puts one to a state of wakefulness which helps you sleep at night, quite peacefully. There are generally no side effects, but in some cases, effects like headache may be noticed.
Here are some lifestyle changes or preventive measure to cure Insomnia:
- Consistency in sleeping and waking up, is the key to a healthy biological clock. If the time is kept the same and consistent throughout the week and even the weekend, insomnia can be cured easily.
- Staying active and involved in any sort of physical as well as mental activity can also prevent the symptoms.
- Check and avoid medications that might lead to insomnia.
- “Power naps” should be limited, or for better, avoided completely to get a healthy sleep cycle.
- Consumption of alcohol and caffeine (tea, coffee) should be limited to prevent the symptoms of insomnia.
- Heavy meals or heavy beverages can also contribute in disturbing the sleep cycle of a person. So, prefer light meals before going to bed.
Importance of a healthy sleep cycle
- Weight gain: Poor sleep is directly or indirectly linked to an unhealthy body weight. People who suffer from insomnia (acute/ chronic) are at a higher risk of obesity and other disorders related to weight gain. So, in order to maintain your body weight and remain healthy, an accurate sleep is a must.
- Increased risk of stroke: sleeping less than seven or eight hours is linked to chronic heart diseases and stroke, studies have found. So, the quality and the duration of the sleep can have a great impact on heart.
- Immunity: one study monitored the effects of lack of sleep on the immune functions of the human body. Candidates were given nasal drops of the cold virus, and it was concluded those who do not sleep efficiently for 7 to 8 hours, were at least three times more likely to catch a cold as compared to people who sleep properly. So, immunity can be affected by lack of sleep too.
- Inflammatory diseases: undesirable markers of inflammation and/or cell damage. An unhealthy sleep cycle is often linked to long term inflammation in the digestive tract, causing inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, a sleep cycle which is healthy and comprises 7 to 8 hours, is recommended to those who have inflammatory disorders.
- Mental health: lack of sleep is bad for your mental health too. Studies have found that people with inadequate sleep and inconsistent sleeping schedules, have reduced abilities to recognize expressions of all kinds, leading to social anxiety and affecting the mental health of people.
- concentration and efficiency: a good sleep is as important as any other exercise required for a healthy body and mind. concentrating abilities, cognition, productivity and hence, performance of an individual is improved drastically by a good sleeping cycle. According to a study, individuals with a busy schedule which didn’t allow them to sleep for 7 to 8 hours, have 36% more chances of medical problems when compared to individuals with a schedule that allowed them to sleep properly.
- maximization of performance in sports: if you’re into sports, then lack of sleep might affect your performance in the stadiums. A good sleep is as necessary as a workout when it comes to sports or athletics. In a study that was carried out with basketball players, it was found out that a 7 to 8 hours of sleep actually improved the performance of the sportspersons.