Sleeping is an essential factor that maintains the integrity of our health as well relaxation method for the human body. Even though there are various factors that affect the quality of the sleep, the minimum required duration of sleep varies with age. It is aptly said that 'quality of sleep matters than quantity'. On average we spend 1/3rd of our life asleep. Generally, the sleep cycle is affected by lifestyle and health. Sleep inhibitors such as energy drinks, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, alarm clocks, electronic devices (especially mobiles) before sleep inhibit the circadian rhythm.
According to an extensive research conducted by American scientists on sleep, they were unable to narrow down the exact duration of sleep required by people of different age groups. They just evaluated the 'recommended' time with minimum and maximum hours required for different age groups. According to them the sleep duration required for various age groups are as follows:
1. Newborns (0-3 months ): 14-17 hours
2. Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
3. Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
4. Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
5. School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
6. Teenagers (14-17): to 8-10 hours
7. Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
8. Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
9. Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
If you find that you are sleeping less than the minimum requirement, you must assess your needs and start a perfect timetable. Analyze your habits that inhibit or enhance the sleep. Analyze your day when you had good sleep the previous night versus the poor sleep cycle. To have a good quality sleep:
1. Make sure your room has the ideal nocturnal requirements for light and sound. Place curtains or windscreens to avoid any unnecessary bright lights entering your room before sleep.
2. If possible have bedroom trees that release oxygen during the night. This will enhance good health as well as a great method to keep your brain healthy while you sleep. They also act as stress busters. Some plants which you can have in your bedroom are Aloe vera, English Ivy, Peace Lilly, Snake plant etc.
3. Avoid sleep inhibitors such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and most importantly, switch off your mobiles/laptops/tablets/TV sets when you are on the bed.
4. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable enough to initiate a good sleep.
5. Exercise daily so that you stay in good shape and health. A healthy person will have a good quality of sleep.
6. Finally, make sure you practice sleep timetable regularly. Sleep in time every day, even on your day off from work. This ensures you have a proper sleep cycle.
Remember that lack of sleep will have many ill effects on the health sometimes can be fatal if it is prolonged. If you are suffering from the irregular sleeping cycle or prolonged insomnia contact your nearest physician as early as possible.
Dr. V. Shashikanth