An occasional lack of sleep may not seem like a big deal, and truth be told we all occasionally do toss and turn in bed. However, its impact can be intense, and effects can linger on. Now, if you make it a habit, not sleeping enough can have severe consequences on your health. Studies have explained the importance of sleep towards various cognitive functions, including memory and emotional regulation. We took the pressing concerns to Mansi Khandelwal, founder, The Sleep Chapter, who highlighted certain facts that speak loudly of sleep patterns and disorders in the region. For instance, a study in Saudi Arabia showed that students were having shorter sleep durations and decreased sleep quality, and another study in the UAE revealed that the majority of adolescents are sleeping less than the recommended duration and have sleep problems, highlighting the need for awareness programmes targeting adolescents, parents and schools staff to teach them about the importance of sleep and provide good sleep hygiene strategies. So, the concern is not just limited to adults, but to young adults and children too.
“However, there is always a solution and with little care and attention you too can get the deep restorative sleep that you deserve,” said Mansi. She suggested a few changes that one can make to get better sleep. “Sometimes, you have to tackle issues head on, and if you want to combat Dubai’s poor air quality you need to invest in a quality air purifier. By removing contaminants from the air, you significantly improve your environment. Coupled with a humidifier you can reduce the likelihood of respiratory infections, avoid pollutants and, most importantly, take back your sleep,” she added. Mansi stressed on the importance of adjusting the diet and introducing probiotics into it. “It’s easy to eat without thinking especially when it comes to your favourite indulgences, but consuming food and drinks high in sugar and caffeine is going to give you night-time jitters.” Her suggestions include incorporating mindfulness into one’s diet by moderating sugar, caffeine, and/or alcohol consumption, and instead trade them in for sleep-promoting teas like chamomile in the hours leading to bedtime. “Don’t forget to incorporate foods that are high in tryptophan, magnesium, B vitamins, and other sleep hormone-promoting nutrients,” she added.
The Sleep Chapter offers weighted blankets, and Mansi spoke to us about the science behind this therapeutic tool used by sleep specialists and medical professionals to help patients with chronic pain, stress-related insomnia, and acute anxiety. She suggested adding one to our sleepware, “Weighted blankets have long been held as one of society’s best kept secrets. The science is simple: imagine marrying the magic of a warm hug and the science of deep pressure stimulation, weighted blankets model the feeling of being held or swaddled. This, in turn, releases stress-relieving hormones and lulls the body into a deep calming state, ensuring that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.”
If you’re looking for a few quick fixes, her suggestion includes, ‘no blue light before bed’. “Even if you are a night owl, subjecting yourself to light from your screen 30 minutes before you sleep ignites your brain and revs it up when it should be winding down. Blue wavelength exposure suppresses the release of melatonin, which will leave you wired,” she said. Another tip would be, “If you sleep-hot consider upgrading to premium quality bedding materials to maximise comfort and breathability.”
“Calibrate your comfort — it’s true that environmental factors are a major force behind restless nights, and sometimes even a simple fix can make all the difference. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, visualising, or even grounding are known to reduce both the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety and stress to help your body relax and get ready for sleep.”
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