The Primary Health Care Corporation ( PHCC) has given several tips for sound sleep suggesting that sleep is an automated process but depends on the where, when and how people sleep. These decisions can have major impacts on the physical and mental health of people.
Before visiting a physician, it is important to self-evaluate the sleeping schedule. Timing is key for sleep and it is necessary for the body to sleep at night because the sleep hormone, melatonin, is naturally secreted into the brain at night. When melatonin levels are high, it signals the brain to sleep and darkens the surroundings to guarantee easier and more peaceful sleep.
Additionally, each person has a circadian clock that regulates body temperatures and releases neurotransmitters.
Dr Wadha Ahmed al-Baker, manager, Wellness Programmes at PHCC, said, “When there is darkness, the set of neurotransmitters tells you to sleep. When there is light, a different set of neurotransmitters tells you to wake up.”
As important as timing, the place of sleep also affects the sleep. Having a comfortable mattress will relax the body and avoid back and shoulder aches. Being comfortable while asleep also helps the body wake up more energised and refreshed. So although sleeping at night for the correct amount of time may refresh the brain, the body will not have enough energy for the day until it too is relaxed. Falling asleep on the couch or in awkward positions will require people to give the body more attention than necessary throughout the day.
Diet is another vital factor to getting a good night’s sleep. Going to bed on a full stomach can boost metabolism and create a rise in body temperature which essentially leads to brain activity. According to Dr al-Baker, sleeping on a full stomach can increase chances of having nightmares and restless sleep. It is recommended to eat no later than two hours before sleeping.
Additionally, using the phone in the late hours of the night keeps the mind psychologically engaged even while sleeping. The blue light emitted from the phone also puts people at a disadvantage as it suppresses the melatonin the body naturally creates, awakening the body more. In order to avoid this, doctors suggest limiting screen time at least one hour before going to bed. The same goes for TV, tablets and other screens and instead, reading a book can relax the mind and body.