Sleep your way to better health
A lack of rest can raise anxiety by 30 per cent, finds new study
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 17, 2019: A good night’s sleep can do wonders to help manage anxiety, according to a new study. UC Berkeley’s study says that a full night’s sleep can stabilise and manage emotions whereas a sleepless night can increase anxiety levels by up to 30 per cent.
According to the WHO, one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders.
“Over the past decade, research is constantly emerging to show the link between good health and sleep,” says Dr Hassan Al Hariri, Head of Sleep Clinic and Pulmonologist at Rashid Hospital. “Prolonged lack of sleep can cause a number of psychological issues. At the onset, lack of sleep directly affects the mood, leads to overeating, it can increase the risk of long-term brain cell damage. It can cause depression, memory loss, anxiety, stress and other psychological issues.”
Sleep improvement is necessary for people with anxiety but in general it is good for everyone who does not follow a good sleep hygiene, says Hariri. The research also points out that while sufficient sleep helped reduce anxiety by 30 per cent in people with anxiety even in people without the condition deep sleep helped keep anxiety markers at the bare minimum.
Deep sleep, known as NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep, is dreamless and has therapeutic properties. “In general adults should aim for a minimum seven hours of sleep per night. Over a prolonged period, regular hours of sufficient sleep leads to improved health and well-being, especially if this is supplemented by a good diet and regular exercise.
Restful sleep for kids
Children need much more sleep than adults; the number of hours of sleep depends on the age of the child.
Keep external stimulants such as TV and all tech devices at bay two hours prior to bedtime.
Avoid installing a TV in your children’s bedroom.
If your child has regular trouble sleeping, keep a sleep chart and jot down your observations, present the details to a doctor if the problem is persistent.
Do not let weekends mess up your child’s biological clock. Try to keep the bedtime and wake-up time as close to the weekdays as possible for consistency.
During holidays, ensure that children go back to their regular sleep schedule at least one week prior to the school commencing date.
Exercise, particularly during the day, helps induce sleep.
Provide the right nutritional support: No sugar four to six hours before bedtime is ideal.
A warm bath before bedtime relaxes the muscles and helps provide a restful sleep.
Do not give chocolate/sugars to children who have restless leg syndrome, especially a few hours prior to bedtime.
If your child sleepwalks, put your child back in his/her bed.
Tips for a restorative night sleep
Establish a regular routine
Maintain a regular sleep and wake-up schedule, and try to stick to it even during weekends.
Sleep in a dark room
Light is the most powerful influencer of the body’s circadian clock and it will negatively affect your body’s ability to sleep. So, keep the bedroom dark, opt for heavy or blackout curtains and wear an eye mask if needed.
Digital detox before sleep
Avoid mobile phones, all smart screens that emit a blue light and avoid watching TV two hours before bedtime.
Avoid smoking close to bedtime because nicotine is a stimulant and can keep you awake.
Restrict heavy food at dinnertime
Steer clear of heavy, fatty or fried dishes at night as these can cause indigestion and affect your sleep quality.
Avoid excessive sleep Although obtaining healthy sleep is important for both physical and mental health, it is best to avoid sleeping more than eight hours a day.
Limit daytime naps
It is best to do away with afternoon naps. If you need a nap, it should be early afternoon and not more than 30 minutes.
Restrict consumption of caffeine
Avoid caffeine-containing beverages and foods such as teas, sodas and chocolate six to eight hours before bedtime.
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