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How poor sleep affects health and 7 proven tips for better sleep health news

Life in the 21st century is faster than ever. Jobs, deadlines and the ubiquitous technology that dominates every aspect of our lives mean we have less and less time to relax. When it comes to overall health, while a lot of focus is placed on diet and exercise — and rightly so — the value of a good night’s sleep is often underestimated. Dr. Prashant Makhija, neurologist at Wockhardt Hospitals Mumbai Central, points out, “Many of us find ourselves sacrificing those precious hours of rest for work, recreation or other obligations. However, the impact of poor sleep on our health is undeniable and can have long-lasting consequences.”

Poor sleep: The ripple effect

It’s not just about feeling groggy in the morning, a lack of quality can profoundly affect your overall health. Poor sleep creates a chain reaction of negative effects from a weakened immune system to increased stress levels, says Dr Prashant Makhija. He listed the following negative effects of poor sleep:

1. Weak Immune System: Adequate sleep is crucial for a strong immune system. When we don’t get enough rest, our bodies produce fewer immune cells, making us more susceptible to illness.

2. Mental Health Challenges: Sleep and mental health are closely related. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to anxiety and depression, as it disrupts the balance of chemicals in our brain.

3. Weight gain: Believe it or not, poor sleep can contribute to weight gain. It disrupts the balance of hormones that regulate appetite and can lead to overeating and unhealthy food cravings.

4. Impaired cognitive function: Your brain doesn’t work at its best without enough sleep. Memory, concentration and problem-solving skills can all suffer when sleep is neglected.

Improve your sleep quality with these 7 tips

The good news is that there are practical steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep and, in turn, protect your health, says Dr. Makhiza. The doctor recommends the following 7 steps:

1. Establish a routine: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, helps regulate your body’s internal clock and improves the quality of your sleep.

2. Create a comfortable sleep environment: Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it cool, dark and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows to make your sleep inviting.

Also read: In 2024, make a resolution to ensure 8 hours of sleep

3. Limit screen time before bed: Blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Aim to turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bed.

4. Watch your diet: Avoid heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol near bedtime. They can disrupt your sleep patterns and cause restlessness at night.

5. Moving: Regular exercise can contribute to better sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, but avoid intense workouts near bedtime.

6. Mind your stress: Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or gentle stretching to help manage stress and prepare your body for rest.

7. Seek professional help if needed: If sleep problems persist, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional. They can help identify underlying problems and recommend appropriate interventions.

“The impact of poor sleep on your health is too significant to ignore. By incorporating these simple tips into your routine, you can unlock the secrets to a good night’s sleep and enjoy the numerous health benefits that come with it. Remember, a good night’s sleep is An investment in your overall well-being,” says Dr. Makhija

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