Mahatma Gandhi said, “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die.
And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”
Taken literally, even if it wasn’t meant to be, it makes
good sense. Getting a good night’s sleep is akin to eating healthy
food or drinking clean water. Yet many of us consider sleep a
dispensable human activity. We think we can get more out of our
day, whether it is at work or at play, if we sleep less.
New Delhi-based Hrudananda Mallick, a professor in the
department of physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences,
says urban Indians are just not getting enough sleep. Only about
60% of adults get adequate sleep, that is, 7-8 hours every night,
he says. Though there are people who are fine with less, most of
us need at least 7 hours.
Cutting corners on sleep affects health and well-being, how
well we think, work, learn and get along with others. It increases
our risk of chronic health problems like heart disease and
diabetes. And because it affects our judgement and alertness, lack
of sleep can be deadly too, especially if you drive long distances
According to Ashim Desai, senior consultant at the Dr ABR
Desai ENT Clinic, Mumbai, there are several ways of improving
sleep habits. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day;
try to keep to the same sleep schedule on week nights and
weekends; work out more than a couple of hours before bedtime; and
do not watch TV, work on the computer or use any kind of
light-emitting devices for reading at least an hour before
bedtime. My favourite: Have a warm bath before bedtime. “A warm
bath dilates the blood vessels and relaxes the muscles, making it
easier for us to fall asleep,” explains Dr Desai.Read More
Sujata Kelkar Shetty, PhD, is a wellness consultant and a
clinical scientist trained at the National Institutes of Health
in Bethesda, US.