Adequate sleep is essential for a healthy body. If you sleep adequately, you will feel fresh and energized throughout the day. Our bodies are just like any other machine, if used constantly without rest, more wear and tear will occur and the life of the machine will be diminished. Sleeping is a natural process that our bodies need to survive, much like food and water. Technically speaking, everyone should rest once every four hours.
For young children adequate sleep is just as important as milk as it plays a vital role in their development. A healthy baby up to the age of 6 months sleeps for about 14 to15 hours a day. Babies who sleep less develop health problems down the road. Even when we fall ill, doctors advise bed rest and sleep because sleep rejuvenates our bodies. On top of this, certain types of medicines work better when we go to sleep after taking them. For example, if you are feeling feverish and take paraceamol followed by a nap, you will feel much better than if you had continued working after taking the pill.
Similarly, doctors advise getting adequate sleep after major operations as sleep helps enormously in the early stages of recovery. If a patient suffers from weakness and weight loss due to any health problem, doctors recommend (along with balanced diet) getting proper sleep, which will promote positive weight gains.
It is also a known fact that the amount of sleep you get should be neither more nor less than the amount of sleep you need. For example, if you receive less sleep than your body requires, you will feel tired and drowsy for your entire day and will be unable to put your best effort into your work. A lack of sleep can lead to headaches, poor digestion, mental and physical weakness, and may make you angry, irritated, and grumpy. On the other hand, if you oversleep, you will lose your time to do other things and your body will feel lethargic. But how do you decide how much sleep is enough sleep? The answer lies in your individual body clock. For example, I may sleep for 6 hours and feel fresh in the morning, but you may require only 4 hours. Technically speaking, a baby should sleep for 14-15 hours, a school child should sleep for 10, and an adult should sleep for 7-8.
Many people think it is bad to take a nap in the afternoon, but this is untrue. A small nap lasting roughly 20 minutes is beneficial when done in the afternoon. It can give you the extra energy needed to work until the late evening. People who do physical chores everyday like women, children, athletes, and other sports personnel should try to sleep every afternoon for between 20 minutes and an hour.
So far we have determined that adequate sleep is important to living a healthy life, but it is also a known fact that everyday millions of people use sleeping pills to get proper sleep. Truly beneficial sleep requires peace of mind and a healthy body. If you have any health problems, be it a cold, cough, or diabetes, you will end up having sleeping difficulties. Tension in daily life is also one of the major causes of inadequate sleep.
To get proper sleep, it is important to follow some basic lifestyle guidelines:
- Do not worry and accept life as it is.
- Lead a simple life: exercise, eat home cooked foods, go to work, and spend time with your family.
- Avoid emotions like anger, jealousy, and fear.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking.
- Never try to force sleep. If you relax your body and senses, sleep will come.