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Quality sleep, balanced diet key to good health

NAGPUR: Adequate sleep, along with a balanced diet and regular exercise, is essential for good health. In fact, with enough quality sleep, a person can prevent a number of diseases. Also, good sleep can even delay the ageing process.

Speaking on the eve of World Sleep Day, which is observed on March 17, sleep expert Dr Sushant Meshram said that there are 88 types of sleep disorders, including sleep apnoea syndrome, restless leg syndrome, insomnia and narcolepsy. People working in shift duties, especially night shifts, are particularly prone to sleep disorders. “Most sleep disorders are preventable or treatable, still less than one-third of sufferers seek professional help. Sleep problems constitute a global epidemic that threatens health and quality of life for at least 45% of the world’s population,” he said.

Dr Meshram added that the three elements of a good quality sleep are duration, continuity and depth. “One sleep cycle is of 90 minutes. It includes different stages. The Non Rapid Eye Movements (NREM) stage which runs over 70 minutes consists of 1, 2 light sleep cycles and 3 and 4 are deep sleep cycles. REM, which forms the second half (20 minutes), is when brain tissue rejuvenation and memory development takes place,” Dr Meshram said.

Research shows that we spend up to one-third of our lives sleeping. Sleep is a basic human need, much like eating and drinking, and is crucial to our overall health and well-being. Sleep, like exercise and nutrition, is essential for metabolic regulation in children. There is evidence for a link between sleep duration and childhood obesity.

The findings are more apparent in girls. Breathing regularly during sleep is critical to maintain well-being and health. Persistent interruption of the breathing function during sleep is called sleep apnoea. This is a pervasive and common disorder that affects 4% of men and 2% of women.

Sleep apnoea causes daytime sleepiness and fatigue, and may lead to conditions such as hypertension, ischemic heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Negative impact of sleep affect attention span, memory and learning.

Longer term effects are being studied, but poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation has been associated with significant health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, weakened immune systems and even some cancers. Lack of sleep is related to many psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and psychosis.

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