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Every human being spends one-third of his life sleeping!
After a long day of physically and mentally taxing work, your body requires rest. Sleep relaxes your body and mind, and prepares you for another day's work. It is essential to fulfill this need, as otherwise, it will adversely affect your health and efficiency. People who do not sleep enough, are known to be irritable and short-tempered. But, that does not mean that oversleeping, or not working, is the answer! There should be a balance between work and rest.

The Sleep Chart

Age Hours
Newborn - 2 months 14 - 18 hours
4 - 12 months 14 - 15 hours
1 - 3 years 12 - 14 hours
3 - 12 years 10 - 12 hours
12 - 18 years 8 - 10 hours
18 years and above 7 - 9 hours
Pregnant women 8 - 12 hours

Power Naps

Power naps are short sleep intervals one takes during the day, when he feels drowsy and drained out. Apart from our daily requirement of eight-hour sleep, our body can be revitalized in the day by power naps. When the energy of your body needs to be charged, caffeine is an unhealthy way, while naps are an effective and healthy way of restoring its energy. Power naps help in relaxing the mind and relieving you of stress. It improves alertness instantly. It also increases your capacity to work and takes away drowsiness. Power naps are also good for the heart. They are helpful for both, adults and children. They are usually 15 to 30 minute naps.

Why is Sleep Important?

Our body is continuously working, both physically and mentally, all day long. It requires rest to restore the energy we lose in our daily activities. Our body and mind cannot indulge in any kind of activity, while we are asleep. Our mind is free from thoughts and stress, while our body is free from physical activities. Hence, sleep is the best way to restore this energy.

Completing our 8 hours of sleep during the night, would be helpful to us in many ways.
  1. We would not feel dizzy and drowsy during the day. Proper sleep will keep us active all day. Sleep always makes us feel more active, relaxed, calm and energized.
  2. It plays an important role in the development of the brain, and also sharpens the memory (especially in children).
  3. It helps in fighting cancer and also increases the life span.
  4. Sleep is the best beauty treatment given to us by nature.
  5. As it lowers stress, it helps in controlling blood pressure.
So, what can lack of sleep do to us? To begin with, if you are sleep deprived, it will show on your face in the form of dark circles or droopy eyes. It only gets worse from here.
  1. Lack of sleep will not let you concentrate on anything you are doing, and will make you very inattentive.
  2. As you would be drowsy all day, you are going to feel lazy and inactive.
  3. As these feelings won't permit your body to perform any work, small things would start to bother you and irritate you.
  4. If you are depressed, lack of sleep will add to your depression. It usually makes kids cranky.
  5. It could also disturb your emotional stability.
The worst case is, if you have to drive and you haven't got enough sleep the night before. Chances are, you can doze off while driving. This can result in a fatal accident, causing irreversible damage. According to statistics, a lot of accidents take place because of lack of sleep and tiredness. The graph of such accidents are even higher than drunken driving accidents.

Sleep Disorder

If you are suffering from sleep disorders like insomnia or hypersomnia, you need to consult a doctor. Insomnia is lack of sleep. In this, a person may not get sleep even if he is dog tired after the day's work. If there are other reasons to this sleeplessness, try listening to soft relaxing music or eat a little sweet before you go to bed. Also, keep a check on your caffeine intake. Avoid watching scary movies, if fright is the reason you can't sleep. If you over sleep on weekends, it means you are not getting sufficient sleep during the week.

Hypersomnia is excess sleep. In this, a person will feel very sleepy, even after he has completed his quota of sleep. In this case, power naps are not a solution. In fact, power naps will not help at all, because he might end up sleeping for an extra long period of time. The best way to treat this, is to seek medical advice. But, even otherwise, it is not good to oversleep. It leads to depression and laziness, and causes heart diseases and diabetes. It also leads to obesity, and you can face problems like headaches.

It is very essential to get your daily quota of sleep, otherwise, you will end up with a sleep debt. So, if you have any sleeping problems, you should sort them out quickly, so you have a normal, trouble-free lifestyle!