Not sleeping enough is causing you to age faster, get sicker and gain weight
Missing out on your 8-hours can do irreparable damage to your health
If you prefer to catch up on the last episode of Younger instead of going to bed on time, you might want to reconsider your priorities. Sleep is good. And not just because you need sleep to, you know, not die.
“Sleep is the most important step in staying healthy,” says nutritionist and wellness expert Tripti Gupta. If you’re not getting a proper night’s sleep then you’re undoing all the good work you do for your body throughout the day. “Sleep is a way for your body to reset,” she says, “Your body needs it to reap the benefits of all the exercise and healthy eating that you’ve been practicing.”
In her book Goop Clean Beauty, Gwyneth Paltrow declared ‘clean sleeping’ the health trend of 2017. “The lifestyle I lead is based not just on clean eating, but also on clean sleeping: at least seven or eight hours of good, quality sleep—and ideally even ten,” she wrote.
How is not sleeping enough affecting you?
The immediate effects of sleep deprivation are obvious every Monday morning — you’re groggy, grumpy and disoriented. For most people, this can be cured by some form of caffeine. But the long term effects of lack of proper sleep are much scarier and largely irreparable. Researchers at the University of Warwick described the trend of being late to bed and early to rise as a “ticking time bomb” and linked it to causing major chronic disorders. According to holistic wellness expert Prameet Kotak, not getting enough sleep will also cause your skin to wrinkle early. It will also reduces your body’s immunity and healing rate, making you more prone to diseases. Lack of sleep also affects your mental imbalance with increase in stress and restlessness.
Additionally, you will also find it hard to manage your weight. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a co-relation between sleeping patterns and the capacity to burn calories. The subjects who were sleeping normally burned 20% more calories than sleep-deprived people and had a 5% higher ‘resting energy expenditure’ (the calories you burn when you’re not doing anything) than the latter too.
Why are you finding it hard to fall asleep?
A 2015 study claimed that 93% of Indians are sleep-deprived. “There are multiple factors that cause difficulties in sleeping, one such vital cause being over-stimulation from technology. Having television sets, computers and or mobiles around you all the time could worsen that,” says Prameet. Additionally, factors like lack of exercise, discipline and timings, consumption of excessive spice or sugar and processed food triggers insomnia.
How can you fall asleep easily?
Since you don’t have an evil witch ready to curse you to sleep for an eternity, you’ll have to trust these tried-and-tested hacks to learn how to fall asleep. According to Gwyneth Paltrow, you can use yoga to assist you in falling asleep. The viral ‘1-2-3’ breathing exercise also originates from Pranayam, and can help you fall asleep in under a minute. Parmeet suggests scheduling your sleeping pattern and avoid ingesting anything with caffeine for at least 4 to 6 hours before you want to go to sleep. “In fact, try to control your caffeine intake throughout the day to manage your sleeping pattern in the long term,” he says. Socks can also help you by warming your feet and tricking your brain into thinking that it’s bed time. It goes without saying that setting an ambiance – complete with a dark room, comfortable bed and minimal noise – also goes a long way.
Foods that help promote good sleep
While Prameet recommends avoiding heavy meals and midnight snacks when you’re having trouble sleeping, there are some foods that can help induce sleep.
“A cup of chamomile tea will always do the trick,” says Prameet. Chamomile contains a flavanoid (antioxidant) called apigenin that acts as a mild sedative and helps you fall asleep easily. “Pistachios hit the sleep-inducing jackpot. They’re packed with protein, vitamin B6 and magnesium, all of which contribute to better sleep,” says Parmeet. In addition to being a complex carbohydrate, sweet potatoes also contain potassium, which helps relax the muscles of the body. “Add rock salt, honey and combine it with nut butter, and you’re sorted,” says Parmeet. But he also cautions against processed and artificially sweetened butters.
“A cup of chamomile tea will always do the trick,” says Prameet. Chamomile contains a flavanoid (antioxidant) called apigenin that acts as a mild sedative and helps you fall asleep easily.
“Pistachios hit the sleep-inducing jackpot. They’re packed with protein, vitamin B6 and magnesium, all of which contribute to better sleep,” says Parmeet.
In addition to being a complex carbohydrate, sweet potatoes also contain potassium, which helps relax the muscles of the body. “Add rock salt, honey and combine it with nut butter, and you’re sorted,” says Parmeet. But he also cautions against processed and artificially sweetened butters.
What is oversleeping and is it harmful?
A study published in the European Heart Journal claimed that there’s such a thing as too much sleep. Sleeping for more than nine hours regularly can be an indication of an illness, like a cardiovascular disease. It has the same effects on your body as not sleeping enough. Oversleeping can also be a medical disorder. People who suffer from hypersomnia experience extreme drowsiness throughout the day and sleep for unusually long hours at night. It’s best to consult a physician in such cases.
Coolest eye masks to help you fall asleep
Now that you’ve gotten the full lowdown on why catching up on your sleep matters, put on your best pyjamas and pick out an eye mask from our selection for some quality zzz’s.