By Dr. Shikha Sharma
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Why Do We Need 7-8 Hours Of Sleep Daily?

Do you seriously want to overlook the way you are treated by your colleagues and seniors at your workplace? Or do you want respect and appreciation for your efforts? This lies in your hands and depends on how well you take care of your health and what efforts you are putting in modifying your lifestyle. Sleep is vital for the maintenance of a sound body and mind? Getting high-quality sleep has become difficult with our fast-paced lifestyle. Tight work schedules and deadlines interfere with our sleeping habits, and patterns, and enjoying about eight hours of sleep per day has become very challenging. An unhealthy lifestyle and work pressure disturb our sleep cycle or “circadian rhythm.” Neglecting our sleep needs is worrisome and problematic because it has a negative impact on our overall health status, and can cause mental health issues such as anxiety, or depression. We need a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep each night due to the following reasons:

  1. The brain needs rest: Stressful and demanding work in the office takes a toll on our brain function. Our brains are functioning throughout the day, starting from the time we wake up in the morning, till the time we go to bed, and fall asleep. If the brain does not get enough time to arrange the information methodically, it leads to confusion and forgetfulness. In such cases, memory recall doesn’t work and we can’t recollect past events accurately. Henceforth, it is imperative to give our brains sufficient time to store important details, which can be registered correctly, to become a part of our short term memory. Sleep-deprived individuals face frustration at home, and at the workplace, due to their inability to recall recent events and dates, which do not get properly registered in their brains and cause a lack of orientation and memory loss.
  2. Our physiological functioning gets altered: Hormonal imbalance occurs in persons who do not get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Cortisol levels get elevated which indicates that the body is going through a stressful phase. In young women, it can cause missed periods or menstrual irregularities.
  3. Lack of sleep causes chronic diseases and weight gain: Inadequate sleep can make you more prone to develop chronic diseases such as glucose intolerance or insulin resistance and if you have a sedentary lifestyle, it can cause diabetes at a young age. You may also find it very difficult to lose weight and shed a few kilos of weight might sound like a nightmare if you do not get enough sleep. Sleeping problems are linked to higher rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Some research studies point towards a greater risk of stroke and heart disease in sleep-deprived individuals. This might be due to unhealthy eating behaviors observed in persons staying awake at night which makes them prone to indulge in eating comfort foods, such as, chocolates, chips, namkeen etc. This contributes to excessive intake of calories and leads to fat deposition in the body and increases the risk of developing diseases.
  4. Mental health deteriorates: Not getting sufficient sleep can worsen your mental health status and can exacerbate your anxiety levels and can raise your susceptibility to depression. You may lose the ability to deal with simple situations and may get irritated by anything that you find unusual or unexpected. Your stress coping mechanisms are lowered and you become more vulnerable to experience panic attacks under certain challenging circumstances. In a nutshell, your mental health suffers tremendously and makes you a less likable person.
  5. Work efficiency suffers: Lack of sufficient sleep adversely affects our performance in office tasks and lowers our overall work output and quality. This can lead to constant reminders from your boss or supervisor and can lower your ratings in comparison to that of other employees. Your chances of getting promoted are diminished and appraisals take a backseat.
  6. Family and friends get disappointed: Not giving enough time to loved ones can lead to relationship issues and misunderstandings. It can complicate your relationship with your spouse and can create communication deficits. Friends feel sidelined and neglected and may not understand that you are sleep deprived, and hence unable to spend quality time with them. You may lose your trusted friends if you are unable to maintain a balance between your personal and professional life. Spending sufficient time with friends and family members is crucial for the maintenance of your social and emotional support system.

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  1. This was a very meaningful post, so informative and encouraging information, Thank you for this post.

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