13 Oct Sleep Deprivation, A Recurring Nightmare
Sleep, too good a dream
Ever experienced waking up in the middle of the night, only to realize it is just a dream? Fidgeting back and forth trying to fall asleep, but never seem to rest your mind?
That is an absolute nightmare, a recurring one.
In our highly stressful modern environment today aggravated by remote working, instant connectivity has disintegrated the boundary between work and life. We are continuously interrupted by social networks and pre-occupied with endless to-do lists. We are never truly away from work. Can you recall the last time you had a good night sleep?
A 2019 global sleep survey by Royal Philips revealed that Singaporeans are among the world’s worst sleepers, clocking only 6.3 to 6.7 hours throughout the week compared to the global average of 6.8 to 7.8 hours. Most of us sleep short of the daily recommended 8 hours – equivalent to 571 hours of sleep debt in a year! If you are wondering why your youth is fading away, this is probably one of the reasons.
Sleepy in the Day?
If you find yourself yawning or dozing off uncontrollably, it is your body sending signals of fatigue. Avoid relying too much on your cup of coffee as you may be desensitized to its stimulating effects and require higher dosage of caffeine. Solve the root cause – have more sleep!
Prolonged sleep deprivation not only affect your regular functions and cognitive abilities, it increases your risk of chronic illnesses and a range of health issues. Getting enough sleep is also an important factor to help you lose weight.
Not only is sleep deprivation a pressing problem among many working adults, good quality sleep is a luxury that one can dream about. Mentally drained by a long day of work, we turn to digital media for temporary relief which ironically worsened our sleep patterns. It has been scientifically proven that engaging in digital activities suppress the release of sleep-inducing hormone ‘melatonin’ and makes it harder for us to fall asleep. What happens next is a vicious cycle of staying up later and sleeping less.
Induce More Sleep Naturally
While there is no magic pill to guarantee good sleep, there are certain types of food that possess sleep-inducing properties and reduce your level of stress for a better night’s rest.
Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone that promotes healthy sleep. Some of the foods that contain melatonin include warm milk and natural nuts. Fruits that are rich in micronutrients such as vitamins B, D, E and potassium help the body to produce more melatonin. Some good examples are pomegranate, grapes, cherries, bananas and kiwis.
Antioxidants are known to improve our immunity and slow down aging, what you are probably unaware is the positive effect it has on sleep. Poor sleep is largely affected by stress and anxiety. In this aspect, antioxidants play a role in easing irritation and restlessness during sleep by boosting the body’s immune function. Some antioxidant-rich fruits include berries, grapes and artichokes. Specifically, Aronia berry contain 3 times more antioxidants than blackberry while Muscadine grape boasts 40 times more than that of a normal grape – which makes them an ideal evening snack to aid better sleep.
Resveratrol is a natural polyphenol found in grapes and red wine, which has anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Poor and inadequate sleep fuels inflammation in the body, increasing the risk of critical and chronic illnesses that further worsen sleep quality. Consuming food with anti-inflammatory effects help to reduce stress on the body and prevent joint problems such as arthritis that will disrupt sleep, especially in extreme weather conditions.
Besides consuming food that is beneficial for sleep, it is crucial that you consciously exercise discipline and inculcate good sleep habits. Set your work-life boundary and clear your mind from work at night when bed time is approaching. Instead of binging on your gadgets, listen to some soothing music and attempt some breathing exercises to prepare yourself for sleep.
Good sleep makes you much more rejuvenated the following day, enabling you to function better and cope with stress more effectively. Sleep better, feel healthier!