Simple shifts in your night time routine to get the sound sleep you deserve
With all the stress around regarding the pandemic, I’ve noticed that many of us are so engrossed in thoughts or our mobile phones or the TV late at night that we have started neglecting our sleep. Is it fine to have sleepless nights? Or is it fine to put strain on your eyes with light-emitting gadgets when you actually need to sleep? If we are looking at boosting our immune system during the pandemic, then getting a good night’s sleep offers innumerable benefits to keep us healthy. Lack of sleep can increase stress in our body, which can constrain our body’s ability to relax, restore, detoxify, heal, reduce weight, gain weight and fight disease. A disturbed sleep cycle or chronic insomnia alters the hormonal balance of our body; cortisol and melatonin. These two hormones may influence the behavior of our healthy cells in the body.
Melatonin is very important for our body as it is known as the sleep hormone. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in our brain and it is known as the sleep hormone because a proper and balanced level of melatonin helps us get better sleep, as it is responsible for regulating the body’s circadian rhythm to get a natural deep sleep cycle. Melatonin also exhibits antioxidant properties that helps avert damage to our body’s cells. Our body doesn’t produce melatonin during the daytime owing to the sunlight around, because melatonin can only be secreted in a dark environment (post-sunset). So, if we keep watching our mobile phones, laptops, TV or any light-emitting gadgets, then melatonin production gets affected. Blue light that gets emitted by such gadgets has a very short wavelength and this wavelength is supposed to interfere with our body’s circadian rhythm leading to decreased production of melatonin which ultimately affects our sleep cycle and healing. Proper sound sleep maintains sufficient melatonin levels in our body, while less sleep leads to too little production of melatonin. It’s suggested that we adults get seven to eight hours of undisturbed, deep, sound sleep every night and the quantity of sleep becomes more important than the quality.
Why are we discussing sleep? The reason is that sleep is really important for immunity. Getting plenty of sleep can help you with building a stronger immune system ultimately — to protect us from any viral attack, cold and flu. Studies indicate that T cells go down if we are sleep deprived and inflammation of cytokines go up which makes the body prone to cold, flu and infections. Sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system functioning which makes us feel more weak and fatigued. Sleep loss can cause higher levels of C-reactive protein-CRP, which causes inflammation and other illnesses.
To improve one’s sleep cycle and be healthy, it’s really important to improve our quality of sleep. It’s important that you stay away from any light-emitting gadgets at least one to two hours prior to your bedtime to improve the melatonin production in our body. Keep your room as dark as possible and put on soothing music to help you sleep better. Start with left deep breathing to reduce the cortisol levels, keep the mind calm and control any thoughts crossing your mind to get sound sleep. Over and above all these things you can add pinch of nutmeg powder in a cup of warm water/A2 milk or almond milk and take it half an hour before bedtime because nutmeg works on relaxing the nerves and getting much better and sound sleep. Of course, avoid in case you have any allergies.
Photo courtesy: Damir Spanic on Unsplash