SleepYou snooze, you lose. That’s what we were told when we were young. But is sleep so very unimportant? Not at all. Sleep is something that is routine and involuntary and is extremely important in our day to day life. Every being including plants have a set sleep pattern. While the way animals sleep is straight forward, plants ‘sleep’ by not performing photosynthesis and just respire all through the night.

In humans,sleep is so necessary for the brain and for the body and it is only at this phase the body rebuilds and repairs from a hard day’s work. I once tried staying awake for 60 hours continuously  which i can proudly say i managed to do but i started hallucinating. My brain was seeing and hearing stuff that didn’t actually happen. It just gave up and went AWOL!!

Types of Sleep:

There are many stages in sleep, ranging from a phase where we have rapid eye movement and dreams to a phase called deep sleep where we generally cannot be woken up so easily.

As you can imagine, there are many intermediate phases and everyone stays in these phases for varying amount of time, everyday. It is important to know that there is no set pattern and everyone sleeps and dreams very differently.

How long should i sleep?

The recommended sleeping time for adults is around 8 hours a day and for children it is 9 to 10 hours a day. Children need more sleep than adults as the body is still growing. Toddlers and babies need at least 15 – 18 hours of sleep everyday.

What’s the problem if I don’t sleep that long?

Prolonged sleeplessness can cause severe damage – both mentally and physically. Sleep helps repair the body and makes it ready for the next day. People who do not sleep long enough can get conditions like Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and heart attack.

A recent study by UK and Italian researchers concluded that there is an increase in chance of having heart failure in adults who continuously sleep for less than 6 hours a day.

Whilst these are long term risks, on a short term basis, sleeplessness causes confusion, tiredness, anger and depression.

I am trying to sleep, but i can’t!!

For people who try to sleep but cant, some of the major causes of sleep deprivation are linked to the type of food and the amount of food that is eaten for dinner. Most of us are used to heavy dinners and light breakfasts, while in theory it has to be the other way around. Catching up an early dinner proves very useful for some.

Caffeine and sugar can cause sleep deprivation and it suggested by health professionals to avoid fizzy drinks and caffeine before going to bed. Sleeping at the same time everyday also helps combat sleep deprivation as the body clock is in sync with the body and doesn’t have to fight it.

Sleep Vs Performance:

While browsing through the web on this topic, i landed on Travis’s excellent article on productivity vs sleep where he presents a formula relating personal effectiveness and hours of sleep.

In short, he claims that sleeping less than an “optimal number of hours” does not improve productivity at all. Instead it can have some potential negative effects. “Optimal number of hours” of sleep is the number of hours you feel comfortable about sleeping every day on an average. It could be 6 hours for some and could be 8 hours for a person like me!

Anyways, its no more “you snooze, you lose”, it is indeed “you snooze, you execute!!!”. Sleep Well!!

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2 Responses to “I need some Sleep!!”

  1. I am going to sleep :-) Sleep is a source of energy… Good writeup…

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