A routinely regulated sleep time is of the utmost importance to our health. Interestingly, inadequate sleep meddles with the functioning of the brain and can wreak havoc on the overall synchrony of various bodily processes including the endocrine system. The National Sleep Foundation, US, recommends close to 7-9 hours of sleep for people ageing between 18 years to 64 years. Erratic sleep time for those who work till late hours or pull off night shifts also affects health adversely.
A recent study links regular sleep pattern with the quality of sperm in men. Experts from the Harbin Medical University in China studied close to thousand male participants and concluded that those who turned in between 8 and 10 pm reported best sperm mortality. This indicated that their sperm had greater chance of fertilizing an egg as compared to other participants who had late sleeping pattern.The participants were also told to set their alarms so they got six hours' sleep or less, seven to eight hours, or nine hours or longer. Scientists took regular semen samples to check sperm count, shape and motility.
The study was published in the journal Medical Science Monitor and reported that sleeping for six hours or less made this even worse, as did lying in bed for more than nine hours. Late bedtimes and inadequate rest are harmful because they increase levels of anti-sperm antibody -- a type of protein produced by the immune system which can destroy healthy sperm. A previously published study had revealed that men getting six hours a night had sperm count that was 25 per cent lower than the the men who slept for full eight hours.
How to sleep better
If you feel that you try too hard but just can doze off as soon as you hit the bed, try analysing few things about your sleep pattern and some associated factors. Make sure that you eat your last meal at least two hours before you plan to sleep. Ditch those devices at least 45 minutes before you are about to doze off. Taking a hot water shower before turning in helps induce sleep. Make sure the lights are dimmed or switched off in your room. A bit of perfumery also helps transpose you to the world of slumber. Listen to music if that helps you relax. Wear light, loose clothing - nothing suffocating or tight. Check your posture while sleeping. Your mattress and pillows should also be comfortable.
Sings of inadequate sleep
The National Sleep Foundation describes the following as symptoms of lack of proper sleep:
- Feeling sleepy while driving.
- Feeling irritable, tired or fatigued throughout the day.