- A recent study revealed that Indians are the second most sleep-deprived population in the world.
- The least sleep is obtained by individuals between the age group of 75- 90 years, while the youth between the ages of 18-25 years sleep an hour later.
- Echoing the harsh reality of the staggering gender inequality, women sleep lesser than men as they cater to the different roles that they are “supposed” to conform to, apart from their professional aspirations.
- With the onset of the pandemic, sleep has emerged as a grappling casualty, which has further led to physical and mental health problems.
Do you often find yourself wanting to simply snooze your alarm clock in the hope of getting a few extra minutes of “blissful” sleep? From not getting adequate sound sleep at night due to wakefulness or feeling fatigued throughout the day, insufficient sleep can immensely affect your energy levels, leading to physical, emotional, and cognitive impairments. In fact, it is advised to always sleep for 7-8 hours every night, so that our bodies get time to recover.
An important part of life, the process of sleeping occurs in several stages. Let’s understand this reinvigorating aspect better.
THE STAGES OF SLEEP
A commonly understood definition, sleep refers to an essential, normal, reversible, recurrent state of reduced responsiveness to external stimulation, which is accompanied by composite and foreseeable changes in physiology. The internal body clock regulates our sleep cycle, controlling when you feel tired or active throughout the day. Operating on a 24-hour cycle known as the circadian rhythm, did you know that they are four stages that are body goes through until we wake up.
While the first three stages are known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and the final one is known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
- Stage 1 NREM: Marking the transition between wakefulness and sleep, this stage consists of light sleep. Muscles relax and your heart rate, breathing, brain waves, and eye movements gradually begin to slow down. This stage generally lasts for a few minutes.
- Stage 2 NREM: As your heart rate and breathing continue to reduce, your muscles become more relaxed. Eye movements stop and your body temperatures decrease. Replete with a few moments of higher frequency electrical activity and slower brain waves, this is the longest stage.
- Stage 3 NREM: Playing a primary role in helping you feel rejuvenated and alert on the following day, this stage is characterized by the lowest levels of heartbeat, breathing, and brain wave activity, with the muscles being completely relaxed.
- Stage 4 REM: This last stage takes about 90 minutes to fall asleep. With your bodily functions like eye movements and breathing becoming deeper and faster, dreaming occurs at this stage.
Now that we know about how we fall asleep, do you ever wonder how an imbalance in the same affects our sleep cycles? Read on to know more.
A MORNING MALADY: PERTINENT SLEEP ISSUES PRESENT IN MODERN TIMES
Blame it on the unhealthy lifestyle choices triggered by overexposure to light, vis-à-vis our generation’s obsession with spending hours at the end on our cell phones to gender gaps, environmental stressors, or physical and mental ailments amongst others, we often struggle to fall asleep at the recommended hour at night. Consequently, we get less sleep, since our biological alarm clock rings at its designated time, leaving us feeling irritable and unproductive. Leading to a vicious cycle, sleep disorders refer to a condition that impairs sleep or prevents you from getting restful sleep.
Certain types of sleep issues include:
- Insomnia: The most common of them all, insomnia is a condition where one has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Characterized by frequent waking in the night or arising too early in the morning to experiencing unrefreshing sleep, it varies in terms of intensity and duration. It can be short-term (acute or adjustment insomnia) or long-term (chronic insomnia).
- Sleep Apnea: This occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep, wherein if left untreated, they can stop breathing repeatedly. There are 2 kinds of sleep apnea, namely, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and Central Sleep Apnea.
- Restless Legs Syndrome: This disorder causes an intense, irresistible urge to move the legs, which is triggered by resting such as lying on the bed, or sitting for longer periods, like while driving or sitting in a cinema hall.
- Narcolepsy: It is a neurological condition of sleep regulation that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. Such people feel extremely sleepy during the day and even experience uncontrollable episodes of the same.
SLEEP SERENITY: MAINTAINING A SLEEP HYGIENE TO LIVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
A phenomenon revolutionized in the late 1970s, sleep hygiene refers to healthy habits, behaviours, and environmental factors that can be adjusted to enable you to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Some of the strategies that you can try are as follows:
- Minimize light and sound: These easily controllable environmental factors will help release melatonin in the brain, inducing a calm, peaceful sleep. From banning computers, television, and mobile phones, to using blackout shades and eye masks, an atmosphere of darkness will rectify your sleep cycles. Moreover, block out unwanted noises using a fan or noise machine for best results.
- Comfort first: Since we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, it’s important to create an environment that comforts us. Investing in cozy quilts to nestle into, set your air conditioner at a lower temperature to induce sleepiness.
- Keep a Routine: Your bedtime routine can involve healthy practices such as practicing relaxation, gentle stretching, journaling, reading, or meditating. Doing it consistently will enable your body to prepare for rest, and condition your brain to sleep.
- Lifestyle Changes: These include exercising earlier during the day, and avoiding caffeine or alcohol at night. If you find yourself unable to sleep, get out of bed and do something to relax you such as focussing on your breath. Moreover, maintain a sleep log to help you regulate this habit. Foods such as almonds, walnut, turkey, and chamomile tea enable you to fall asleep by calming your mind.
Stress Management: To avoid feeling worrisome, try practicing stress management techniques at night. From breathing deeply and practicing gratitude to immersing in the enchanting fragrances of aromatherapy, there are several ways to naturally induce sleep. When needed, you can also take melatonin supplements.
With aromatherapy always at the rescue, let us learn more about it.
FRAGRANT FLAVOURS: AROMATISE YOUR WAY TO A PEACEFUL SLUMBER
An age-old practice of using natural oils for living a holistic, wholesome lifestyle, several essential oils can help you enjoy a soothing, refreshing sleep. Making this dreamy fantasy a reality, a few drops are all it takes to improve your sleep patterns. Whether used in a diffuser or applied topically, their results are truly unfathomable. Infused with the calming, restful fragrances of Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, and Juniper amongst others, SA’s Dream Roll-On engenders a tranquil slumber like no other! Your one-stop solution to a stress-free, replenishing sleep, are you ready to wake up feeling happier, peaceful, and vibrant?
As rightly said by American author, Thomas Decker, “sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together,” need we say more?
Purchase our Sleep-Inducing Oil at
and get whiffed into your beckoning dreamland!