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“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man, healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Modern-day living in the Malaysia and many other countries does not always embrace the necessity for adequate sleep, due to many reasons. Yet, it is important that people make an effort to get enough sleep regularly.
Why is sleep important?
Renowned neurologist Dr David Perlmutter has stated that after 10pm, the body metabolises a lot of waste products, and from 11pm to 2am, the immune system recharges itself.2 Immune system helps your body to fight off foreign or harmful substances and keeps it protected.
In a study, it was found that those who slept less than 7 hours were at greater risk by nearly 3 times to catch a cold when compared to those who slept 8 hours or more.3
Deep sleep also promotes the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults.4
Studies show that sleep-deprived individuals tend to have a bigger appetite and overeat.5 This can be explained by science, as sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When sleep is inadequate, this balance of hormones is disrupted and this results in higher level of ghrelin and lower level of leptin which stimulates appetite.5
While you are sleeping, your brain goes into restorative mode and prepare yourself for the next day. Having a good night sleep keep your brain active and sharp as it can enhance learning, improve problem-solving skills and decision-making skills and also be more attentive and mindful.
Sleep is important for the brain as studies demonstrate that lack of sleep may affects the brain in many ways. Skills such as problem solving, decision making and coping are all affected.
Many studies have found the association between sleep deficiency with poor mental health. Lack of sleep may be a contributing factor to mood swings, depression, suicide, risk-taking behaviour and negative moods such as anger, frustration, irritability and sadness.
Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation.8,9
Image adapted from source: Henry Ford Live Well
How much is enough?4,6
Factors like age, physical activity levels, general health and others can contribute to sleep duration but in general:
We tend to need less sleep as we age,4 but be guided by your own state of alertness – if you feel tired during the day, aim to get more sleep at night.
What doesn’t help:1,8
(These substances is likely to cause abuse and addiction which will result in worsening of health condition.)
Takeaway: Try to keep a consistent sleep-wake cycle8. It helps to improve your sleep quality and you will wake up fresher and keep on top of life’s challenges every day!
10. Better Health Channel. 2020. Sleep hygiene. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/sleep- hygiene
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