By Kamissa Nabe
Sleep is an essential need of every human being, which may not be well understood. A normal adult spends between six to eight hours a day. A solid amount of sleep time is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Regardless of the reasons, we have all experienced the effects of sleepless nights although the effects are not always immediately apparent.
Sleep has important effects on health and well-being. It restores our energy, fights off illness and fatigue, helps us think more clearly and creatively, strengthens memory and produces a more positive mood and better performance throughout the day. It also helps keep us safer by minimising the risk of injury. For example, we can prevent accidents caused by drowsy driving.
When you sleep better, life’s difficulties will seem a little less stressful than they would. Thus, you can use sleep to help manage stress.
In a study related to diet and sleep, researchers Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy Nelson of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found a link between the amount of sleep we receive and the amount of food we eat as a result. For example, after a bad night’s sleep, the hormone controlling appetite is affected, emotional stress is greater, more food is desired to compensate for lack of energy.
Not getting enough sleep affects our emotions and the way we think. When you’re overtired, you are more likely to snap at people, or burst into tears, or start laughing uncontrollably.
Lack of sleep can cause many health issues. Institute of Medicine in U.S highlighted that 50-70 million Americans were estimated to suffer chronically from sleep disorders that adversely affect their health and mortality.
According to the Ministry of Health, major problems with sleep in Malaysia stem from social and industrial progress. Lack of physical work and an abundance of food have led to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and sleep-related disorders. People now elect to pursue wake activity during the night.
Allah describes sleep as a blessing from Him. He says in the Qur’an:
“And We made your sleep a rest for you.” [Surah al-Naba’: 9]
We sometimes neglect the effect of sleep and ignore the impact it has on us. That is why people need to be educated on the importance of good quality sleep and good sleep hygiene in order to avoid sleep disorders.
Allah (s.w.t) has stated in the Holy Quran;
“It is Allah who has made the night for you, that you may rest therein, and the days as that which helps you to see. Verily Allah is full of grace and bounty to humanity, yet most people give no thanks.” [Surah Ghafir: 61]
“He it is who gathers up your souls at night and knows all that you do by day. Then He raises you up again, so that the term appointed for you (on Earth) may be accomplished. And afterward unto Him is your return. Then He will proclaim to you what you used to do.” [Surah al-An`am: 60].
Sleep is a blessing given to us by Allah. We should make good use of it. It is a mistake not to consider the importance of sleep because it has a big impact in our everyday life.
Tips to improve sleep:
- Have a scheduled bed time and wake up time (Go to bed early)
- Avoid caffeine/ nicotine 2 to 3 hours before sleeping time
- If you are unable to sleep, get out of bed and engage in something interesting or productive until you feel sleepy again.
- Eat 2 to 3 hours before bedtime
- Exercise regularly