Sleep is an important part of our lives. Periods of sleep and wakefulness are part of how our bodies function. Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout life. Like a balanced diet and exercise, sleep may help to prevent a range of health issues, including heart disease and depression.

Recommended amount of sleep of a child: –

It actually varies based on age. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends:

• Infants under 1 year: 12-16 hours

• Children 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours

• Children 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours

• Children 6-12 years old: 9-12 hours

• Teenagers 13-18 years old: 8-10 hours

• Adult (18–60 years): 7-plus hours

[Pregnant women often need more sleep during the first trimester.]

• Adult (61–64 years): 7–9 hours

• Adult (65+ years): 7–8 hours


When you sleep, your brain goes through natural cycles of activity. There are four total stages of sleep, divided into two phases:

1) Non-REM sleep: – non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep is the first stage of sleep. There are three NREM stages-

(i) Stage 1 NREM sleep: – It is the lightest stage of sleep, where a person transitions from wakefulness to sleep. This stage usually lasts only a few minutes, making up about 5% of sleep time. In this stage, a person’s brain waves, heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements slow. Their muscles also relax, with occasional twitching. After that, sleep gets deeper, at that time, the person moves into stage 2 NREM sleep.

(ii) Stage 2 NREM sleep: – Stage 2 NREM sleep is still light sleep, but deeper than stage 1. Stage 2 NREM sleep accounts for about 45% of your time asleep (the most of any stage). In this stage, a person’s heart rate slows and muscles relax further. Their body temperature drops and eye movements stop. This stage typically lasts around 25 minutes in the first cycle, with time increasing in each cycle. After stage 2, the person moves deeper into stage 3 NREM sleep.

(iii) Stage 3 NREM sleep: – This is the deepest stage of sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS), and accounts for about 25% of total sleep time. A person needs this stage of sleep to wake up feeling refreshed. In this stage, a person’s body repairs itself, regrows tissues, strengthens the immune system, and builds bone and muscle. This stage is the hardest to awaken from, and when sleepwalking, bedwetting, and night terrors occur. A person’s heart rate, breathing, and brain waves slow to their lowest levels, and muscles completely relax.

2) REM sleep: – REM stands for rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, where dreaming & nightmares mostly occurs. Its name comes from how eyes move behind eyelids while a person is dreaming. People spend around 25% of total sleep time in REM sleep, with each cycle lasting from 10 minutes to an hour. Brain activity becomes closer to that seen in wakefulness, but arm and leg muscles become paralyzed to stop a person from acting out their dreams. Experts believe a person needs some REM and non-REM sleep for memory consolidation. A person’s eyes move rapidly from side to side with eyelids closed during this stage, and heart rate and breathing increase.

∆ Why is sleep important in our daily life?

Sleep is essential for physical and mental well-being, with various functions that contribute to overall health. An insufficient amount of sleep can lead to serious repercussions. Lack of sleep has been linked to a higher risk for certain diseases and medical conditions. These include obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, poor mental health, and early death.

During sleep, body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain physical health.

In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.

• There are some amazing benefits associate with getting a good night’s rest, these are-

  • Better memory and performance: –

Researchers noted that sleep has links to several brain functions, including-

(i) Memory: – If there is Sleep disruption, then it may affect memory processing and formation.

(ii) Performance: – Not getting enough sleep or enough high-quality sleep can lead to problems focusing on tasks and thinking clearly.

(iii) Cognition: – By affecting stress hormones, sleep disruption may affect cognition also.

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease: –

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting adequate rest each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself. A sharp increase in blood pressure and heart rate upon waking has been linked to angina, or chest pain, and heart attacks. People who do not sleep enough or wake up often during the night may have a higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), High blood pressure, Obesity, Stroke.

  • Greater athletic performance: –

Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, but recent studies have suggested that athletes may need more than the normal adult. Sleep is important for athletes and people participating in sport because the body heals during sleep. Other benefits include better endurance, more energy, better accuracy and reaction time, faster speed, better mental functioning.

  • Improve calorie regulation: –

Similarly, to gaining weight, there is evidence to suggest that getting a good night’s sleep can help a person’s body take in fewer calories.

The adults increased their sleep by 1.2 hours on average, and took in around 270 calories fewer than the control group. The researchers suggested that improving and maintaining healthy sleep duration could help with weight loss and obesity prevention.

  • Increase emotional and social intelligence: –

Someone who does not get adequate sleep is more likely to have issues with recognizing other people’s emotions and expressions. People who routinely experienced higher quality sleep tended to perceive themselves as having better emotional intelligence, such as doing well in social interactions, maintaining relationships, feeling positive and controlling impulses.

  • Stronger immune system: –

Some research suggests that deep sleep is necessary for the body to repair itself and strengthen the immune system. However, scientists still need to do further research into the exact mechanisms of sleep in regards to its impact on the body’s immune system.

∆ What are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders (or sleep-wake disorders) involve problems with the quality, timing, and amount of sleep, which result in daytime distress and impairment in functioning. Sleep-wake disorders often occur along with medical conditions or other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or cognitive disorders.

There are several different types of sleep-wake disorders, of which insomnia is the most common. Other sleep-wake disorders include obstructive sleep apnea, parasomnias, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome.

1) INSOMNIA: – Insomnia is characterized by an ongoing difficulty to fall or remain asleep despite wanting to sleep and having enough time to sleep. People with insomnia also experience daytime sleepiness and may have difficulty functioning while they are awake. →There are two main types of insomnia: short-term insomnia and chronic insomnia.

•Short-term insomnia is often caused by a stressful life event, such as the loss of a loved one, a disconcerting medical diagnosis, a pandemic, rebounding from cessation of a drug or marijuana, or a major job or relationship change.

•Chronic insomnia is a long-term pattern of difficulty sleeping. Insomnia is considered chronic if a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights per week for three months or longer.

→Symptoms of insomnia:

  • Episodic (with an episode of symptoms lasting one to three months)
  • Persistent (with symptoms lasting three months or more)
  • Recurrent (with two or more episodes within a year)


Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common sleep-related breathing disorder. People with obstructive sleep apnea repeatedly stop and start breathing while they sleep. It occurs when the throat muscles relax and block the airway. This happens off and on many times during sleep. A sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring.

→Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea:-

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Loud snoring.
  • Observed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep.
  • Waking during the night and gasping or choking.
  • Awakening in the morning with a dry mouth or sore throat.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Trouble focusing during the day.
  • Mood changes, such as depression or being easily upset.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Decreased interest in sex.


Parasomnias are a group of unusual sleep behaviours that can occur before falling asleep, during sleep, or in the transition between sleep and wakefulness. Parasomnias are most common in children, but they affect adults as well.

→Symptoms of Parasomnia: –

  • wake up confused or disoriented
  • wake up wondering where you are
  • feel daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • not remember doing certain activities


Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that makes people feel excessively tired during the day despite getting an adequate amount of sleep. This can lead to an irrepressible urge to sleep, culminating in “sleep attacks” that typically last for a few minutes. These sleep attacks and other symptoms of narcolepsy are caused by disruptions in the brain’s ability to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. People with narcolepsy have episodes of cataplexy, brief sudden loss of muscle tone triggered by laughter or joking.

→Symptoms of narcolepsy: –

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Sudden muscle weakness (cataplexy).
  • Sleep-related hallucinations. These happen right after falling asleep or right before waking up.
  • Sleep paralysis.


Restless legs syndrome involves an urge to move one’s legs, usually accompanied by uncomfortable sensations in the legs, typically described as creeping, crawling, tingling, burning, or itching.

→The urge to move the legs:

  • begins or worsens during periods of rest or inactivity;
  • is partially or totally relieved by movement; and
  • is worse in the evening or at night than during the day or occurs only in the evening or at night.

→Symptoms of restless legs syndrome include:

  • Uncomfortable sensations in your legs that make you want to move them.
  • Sensations get worse when you’re resting.
  • Relief of discomfort (at least temporarily) when you move your legs.
  • Twitchy legs or leg jerks in the evening and during sleep.


Researchers, including nutritionists and sleep experts, have conducted different types of studies to try to discover the best foods for sleep. There are some foods and drinks that may make it easier to get a great night’s sleep. Certain foods and drinks can promote better sleep by providing nutrients essential to sleep. Just as diet plays an important role in being slim, adequate and proper food intake is also important for good quality and deep sleep. Dietary choices affect more than just energy and sleepiness; they can play a major role in things like weight, cardiovascular health, and blood sugar levels just to name a few. For that reason, it’s best to consult with a doctor or dietician before making significant changes to your daily diet. So, they help to ensure that your food choices support not just your sleep but all of your other health priorities as well.

Foods that help to get a good night’s sleep: –

  1. Kiwi: –

    The kiwi or kiwifruit is a small, oval-shaped fruit popularly associated with New Zealand even though it is grown in numerous countries. This green and juicy fruit is one of the most nutritious fruits. It is also very low in calories. Kiwifruit possess numerous vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamins C and E as well as potassium and folate. This fruit helps to increase digestion and reduce inflammation. This fruit is also one of the best foods to reduce high cholesterol. It contains sufficient amount of fibre and carotenoid antioxidants. Which helps to improve the quality of sleep.

    Some research has found that eating kiwi can improve sleep.

    It is not known for sure why kiwis may help with sleep, but researchers believe that it could relate to their antioxidant properties, ability to address folate deficiencies, and/or high concentration of serotonin. According to experts, 2 kiwis should be consumed one hour before going to bed every night. Because eating this fruit produces high levels of serotonin in the body. Anti-inflammatories like vitamin C and carotenoids are great for sleep.

  2. Nuts: –

    Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews are often considered to be a good food for sleep. Nuts contain melatonin as well as minerals like magnesium and zinc that are essential to a range of bodily processes. In a clinical trial using supplements, it was found that a combination of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc helped older adults with insomnia get better sleep.

  3. Rice: –

    There is a trend of eating rice all over the world. Rice is one of the most common and staple foods. Rice is rich in fibre, nutrients and antioxidants. Besides, rice has high carbohydrate and glycaemic index, so it is suitable food for sleep.

    Studies of carbohydrate intake and sleep have had mixed results overall, but some evidence connects rice consumption with improved sleep. A study of adults in Japan found that those who regularly ate rice reported better sleep than those who ate more bread or noodles. At the same time, sugary beverages and sweets have been tied to worse sleep, so it appears that not all carbohydrates and high glycaemic index foods are created equal. Additional research is necessary to fully identify the sleep-related effects of different carbohydrates.

    The impact of carbohydrates on sleep may be influenced by what is consumed with them. For example, a combination of a moderate amount of protein that has tryptophan, a sleep-promoting amino acid, and carbohydrates may make it easier for the tryptophan to reach the brain. Turkey is an example of a protein with high levels of tryptophan.

  4. Fatty Fish: –

    A research study found that fatty fish may be a good food for better sleep. Researchers believe that, fatty fish (salmon) may help sleep by providing a healthy dose of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which are involved in the body’s regulation of serotonin. This study focused particularly on fish consumption during winter months when vitamin D levels tend to be lower.

  5. Tart Cherries: –

    These are also known as “sour cherries”. As the name indicates, tart cherries have a distinct flavour from sweet cherries. Several studies have found sleep benefits for people who drink tart cherry juice.

    These benefits may come from the fact that tart cherries have been found to have above-average concentrations of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate circadian rhythm and promote healthy sleep. Tart cherries may also have an antioxidant effect that is conducive to sleep.

  6. Malted Milk: –

    Malted milk is made by combining milk and a specially formulated powder that contains primarily wheat flour, malted wheat, and malted barley along with sugar and an assortment of vitamins.

    Milk itself contains melatonin, and some milk products are melatonin-enriched. When cows are milked at night, their milk has more melatonin, and this milk may be useful in providing a natural source of the sleep-producing hormone.

    Small studies found that malted milk before bed reduced sleep interruptions. The explanation for these benefits is uncertain but may have to do with the B and D vitamins in malted milk.

  7. Chamomile Tea: –

This herbal tea is rich in flavones and antioxidants, which help prevent inflammation. Chamomile tea is actually made from dried chamomile flowers. If consumed regularly for at least 2 weeks, the problem of insomnia will be cured quickly. It can also reduce anxiety and stress.

This tea is also very beneficial for the skin. Studies have shown that this tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which activates receptors in the brain that help regulate sleep and eliminate insomnia.

∆Guidelines for improves better sleep: –

Some simple sleep hygiene practices and home remedies can help people sleep better.

[•] These are –

i) Going to bed around the same time each night.

ii) Spending more time outside and being more active during the day.

iii) Reducing stress through exercise, therapy, or other means.

iv) Make the bedroom sleep-friendly

v) Avoid large meals before bedtime.

vi) Increase Bright Light Exposure During the Day & Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening

vii) Avoid Consuming Caffeine Late in the Day & quit alcohol.

viii) Practice relaxation before sleeping

ix) Be comfortable in your bed and sleep position.

x) Disconnect electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom.

xi) Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.

xii) Limit naps to no more than one hour and avoid napping late in the day.

xiii) Try to resolve worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.



References: –



























Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *