Begin the new year with a sleepy topic like sleep. But sleep is most underestimated or taken for granted or least discussed. What better way to offer yourself a bouquet of good health this new year. And sleeping right can be the perfect antidote to many health concerns that many of us face due to poor sleeping habits. Most of us would have read in our middle school curriculum that sleep is when the body repairs, replenishes and rejuvenates yet we are taking sleep for granted like never before. Unfortunately, Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep. We are exploiting and trying to extract as much as awake time which is, needless to say, creating a havoc on the body clock.
Teenagers are the most badly hit. Keeping awake till late in the night and obviously rising late or in a hurry to catch up on the daily routine messes the entire system. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase.
Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health and safety. When we don’t get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to “pay back” if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.
Probably all of us educated souls know and yet defy. So what can be done?
• Limiting overall daily screen time can help improve sleep issues
• Restricting use right before bed can play a key role in helping teens fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality.
• Consider setting a digital curfew one to two hours before bedtime (the earlier, the better).
• Create a sleep-positive bedroom environment by encouraging teens to read before bed rather than texting to wind down.
• Some parents institute a tech-free bedroom policy—no TV, computer, or smart phone allowed in the sleeping space, at least during the night.