Benefits of improving the sleeping cycle: How important a role does sleep play in the overall fitness of the body?

Benefits of sleeping

The world in which we are living today is highly competitive. And each one of us is conditioned to stay ahead in this competition, regardless of the pain it may cause us.  Therefore, to fulfill this requirement of the society we work day and night without any rest. We hope that one day we will get the rest and relaxation we are striving for. But that day never comes and we end up losing everything including money, health, and life. We slog and strive at the same time, without any contribution towards improving the sleeping cycle.

All this can be summed up in a quote by Spiritual Guru Dalai Lama, which says:

“Man sacrifices his health in order to make money.

Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.

And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;

the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;

he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

In this article, we are going to emphasize more on the benefits of proper sleep. It is one of the most integral things that has been excluded from our lives after the arrival of the technology. For getting a perfect body, many people focus on things like workout routines and supplements. However, many fail to consider another vital component of a healthy body, i.e. improving the sleeping cycle. Sleep helps us to restore the body’s energy supplies that have been depleted through the day’s activities.

So, how many sleep hours are necessary for your body?

Healthy sleep cycle
Completing a healthy sleep cycle is key to good health

Healthy sleep is divided into four-stage cycles. Stages 1, 2, and 3 comes under NREM sleep. The first two stages, i.e, 1 and 2 are the initial stages of the NREM sleep where we become increasingly unplugged from the world until we reach the deep sleep that happens in stage 3.

The fourth and final stage is named for the rapid eye movement (REM) which is also known as the dreaming stage. During this stage heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, breathing becomes faster and irregular.

Generally, a person experiences three to five REM periods throughout sleep time with the longest REM period right before awakening for the day.

Every individual has different needs and preferences and the duration of sleep varies across the lifespan and from person to person.  Factors such as physical size, muscle mass, brain size, and current level of physical fitness may influence human sleep patterns.

According to the National Sleep Foundations’ recommendations:

  • Older adults (65+) require 7–8 hours of proper sleep in order to remain healthy.
  • Adults aged 18–64 years should get a sound sleep of 7–9 hours and teenagers aged 14–17 years require 8–10 hours of proper sleep.
  • School children (6–13 years) require 9–11 hours of sleep whereas preschoolers (3–5 years) need 10–13 hours of proper sleep.
  • Toddlers (1–2 years) should get 11–14 hours of sleep and infants (4–11 months) should sleep for at least 12–15 hours.
  • The sleep patterns differ for the newborns and they require 14–17 hours of undisturbed sleep.

The importance of sleep pattern in healing body

Sound Sleep and its effect on the human body
Having a sound sleep keeps both mind and body healthy and fit

A sound sleep repairs brain cells– A sound sleep is responsible for boosting the reproduction of cells that forms myelin which is an integral part of nerve conduction.

It keeps your heart safe-Getting a night of proper sleep induces deep relaxation and will help the heart to function at optimum levels.

Sleep nourishes the skin- Studies show that sleep helps in the production of new collagen, which makes the skin look bright, wrinkle-free and prevents it from sagging.

A sound sleep promotes hormone regulation– During sleep, our body produces a sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. Seven to eight hours of adequate sleep helps to regulate insulin products.

Sleep affects body weight- Individuals with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep.

Sleep also improves concentration, productivity, and functions of the immune system. Having a sound sleep at night, also helps you to keep stress and depression at bay. Therefore, it is important to have a sound sleep cycle and there are many ways that help in improving the sleeping cycle. 

Yoga and Sleep

Pigeon Pose
Practising Kapotasna helps in having a sound sleep

If you are having a problem sleeping you can try these yoga asanas to sleep better. 

Balasana or Child Pose

It is one of the simple yet effective asanas that help calm the nervous system and aids you in sleeping peacefully.

Hastapadasana or Standing forward bend

It stretches the back muscles, makes the spine supple and invigorates the nervous system by increasing blood supply.

Marjariasana or Cat stretch

It makes the spine flexible, massages the digestive organs and improves digestion, thus helping you sleep well.

Baddhakonasana or Butterfly pose

It can help remove fatigue from long hours of standing or walking and is a good stretch for inner thighs, groin, and knees.

Viparita Karani or Legs-up-the-wall pose

It helps to relieve tired legs and feet and helps increase blood supply to the brain, thereby calming the mind and relieving it of a mild headache.

All these asanas help in improving the sleeping cycle, which in turn will improve the overall health of your body.

Sleeping does play a vital role in the overall well-being of the body. Therefore, having a sound sleep for 7-8 hours will make each day a productive one. Take the help of the above-mentioned yoga asanas that may help in improving the sleep cycle. Getting enough rest is integral for your body as it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day.

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