Health Tips | Health Tips

What

Some of us get so caught up with work that we're constantly sleep deprived, and it almost feels like a luxury to have 6-7 hours of sleep each night. A study from the West has shown that having 6 hours of sleep chronically can have worse effects than pulling all-nighters.

A research institute did a study how our sleeping schedule affects cognitive performance. They recruited 48 adults and divided them into controlled groups of having 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours of sleep, while another group goes through two all-nighters consecutively. Their sleeping routine is monitored for 2 weeks straight, including testing the brain's ability to process and respond to information every 2 hours. Evidence shows that the group that has 8 hours of sleep daily achieves the best results. While there's no significant difference in the 6-hour sleep group, their response speed significantly drops by the 10th day and becomes as exhausted as those who have gone through 2 all-nighters.

Besides suffering from slower cognitive performance, the body would release more cortisol when one is sleep deprived. Cortisol is detrimental to collagen production and can also push you towards overeating, which makes it easier to gain weight. Here are some tips you can follow to get enough and better sleep.

1. Try to stick to a regular sleeping routine and avoid sleeping in during the weekends.

2. Keep your sleeping environment quiet and dark. If you have to keep the light on, go to bed with a sleep mask to help you sleep better.

3. The room temperature should be regulated, and the government suggests an optimal temperature of 25.5 celcius.

4. Don't nap for more than 20 minutes. The best time to take a nap is before 3pm.

5. Do not drink caffeinated drinks after noon.

6. Avoid drinking alcohol, smoking and doing intense exercise 1 hour before going to bed.

7. Get off your phone or computer before going to bed. Blue light disrupts melatonin production and stimulates our sensory nervous system, making us more alert and difficult to fall asleep.

8. Having food rich in Tryptophan such as milk, banana, sunflower seeds, seaweed and oatmeals can improve sleep quality.