Sleep is associated with a state of muscle relaxation and limited perception of environmental stimuli. In animals sleep is a naturally recurring state characterised by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, and inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli and it is more easily reversible than being in coma.
During sleep, most systems in an animal are in a heightened anabolic state and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems etc. It is observed in mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish and in insects and even in simpler animals. Thus sleep is universal in the animal kingdom. The purposes and mechanisms of sleep are partially clear and the subject of substantial ongoing research. Sleep is sometimes thought to help conserve energy, though it also decrease metabolism about five to ten percent.
Additionally, it has been observed that mammals require sleep even during the state of hibernation(), but it is a net loss for them in order to sleep. In human societies, sleep is conducted during the nights but in very hot climates, it can also be conducted during the day. Humans may suffer from a number of sleep disorders like sleep walking.
Effect of Foods and Drugs on Sleep
Sonata, ambien are commonly used as sleep aids prescribed by doctors and are in continuous use worldwide. Often people start drinking alcohol in order to get to sleep. However, being addicted to alcohol can lead to disrupted sleep because alcohol has a rebound effect later in the night. Alcohol reduces REM sleep. Barbiturate also causes sleep drowsiness.
Many people have a temporary drop in alertness in the early afternoon commonly known as “post-lunch dip”. A large meal can make a person feel sleepy; the post-lunch dip is mostly an effect of the biological clock. People naturally feel sleepy at two times, the body clock “kicks in”.
Amphetamine which is a more powerful drug and is used to treat narcolepsy. Its most common effects are anxiety, stimulation, increased alertness and decreased hunger. Caffeine is also a stimulant that works by slowing down the action of the hormones in the brain that causes a rapid reduction in alertness as it wears off. Tobacco has been found not only to disrupt but also to reduce total sleep time. Tobacco users describe more day time drowsiness than non-users.
Nutritional Effects on Sleep
Dietary and nutritional choices effect sleep duration and quality. Sleep quality is affected by four different diets- a high protein diet, a high fat diet, a high carbohydrate diet and a control diet. The diets high in protein result in fewer wakeful episodes during night-time sleep. The high carbohydrate diet is linked to shorter periods of restful sleep. A balanced and varied diet is the nutritional key to restful sleep.
Five Ways to Get More Sleep
1. Get Regular exercise: Exercising on a regular basis can help one to get a better night’s rest. Exercise can also help to combat depression and anxiety as they can lead to insomnia.
2. Have a Sleep-Conducive Environment: One should not wake up until the middle of the night. One’s room should be kept dark as light can cause one to have restless sleep. Papers and files should be kept in another room not in the bedroom.
3. Get Checked for Sleep Apnea: If one has had history of non-restful sleep, then one should talk to doctor as this can be linked to several health conditions like obesity and high blood pressure.
4. Use Bed for Only Sleeping: One should not work or study in bed. If this happens, then one starts to connect one’s bed with stress and this in turn impacts one’s ability to get to sleep.
5. Turn off Electronics at least 30 minutes Before Bed: One should not use iPod before bed as this can cause one difficulty in falling asleep. The light emitting from the device is culprit. It affects the ability to sleep. One should give one’s brain time to unwind.
Why Responsible Parents should Sleep More
Sleep should be one of the most important family values. Most parental sleep is related to more child sleep, which is linked to decreased child obesity. Sleep routines in a family affect all the members, not just children even parents do not get a good night’s sleep until and unless their children are sleeping and this is a fact.
Sleep is a protective factor in lowering the incidence of obesity in parents and prevents pre-school children to be overweight. Children who do not get enough sleep have a greater risk of being overweight.
Rest can help one to lose weight, sharpen mind, improve heart health and more but sleep is a sweet balm that soothes and restores one after a long day of work and play. Sleep is essential for person’s health and well-being. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help to protect one’s mental health, physical health and quality of life. Sleep also helps to support growth and development. So one should give proper attention on to have enough sleep too.