‘Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together… It is the best meditation…’

Editor’s Musings


The importance of good sleep cannot be negated. Our grandparents believed that good sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. This belief of our grandparents is the golden herb of good health. Deep undisturbed sleep helps the body to repair and regenerate new healthy tissues. It is the fundamental underlying basic necessity for cognitive functioning, emotional regulation, and physical health.

Undisturbed short naps during the day or deep sleep at night help boost energy levels, allowing the body to recharge and revitalize. During sleep, the body produces hormones that regulate energy, metabolism, appetite, and build up energy when we are awake.

Poor sleep quality or inadequate sleep leaves a person fatigued and irritated, reducing cognitive performance. Insomnia or sleep deprivation has also been linked to an increased risk of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Manav Rachna International School Mentors encourage their students to have good sleep during the sleep hours. The mentors know that over exertion, checking mobile phones at late night and other such toxic habits are not good for their students’ mental and physical health.

So, it is true that good sleep is one of the best ways to energize the body and improve overall health and well-being.

From the Author’s Desk


“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”

This Irish Proverb rightly highlights the significance of getting enough sleep. Modern-day lifestyle has certainly deprived mankind of adequate sleep. Due to various reasons, people compromise on their sleep, thereby facing a multitude of health issues, including heart disease and depression. Having adequate sleep is as important as having a balanced diet and has an array of benefits, which are as follows:

Enhanced memory and performance:
Sleep patterns can directly affect the functioning of the brain, thus affecting one’s memory. This directly influences the performance on various platforms, including focus, emotional reactivity, decision-making, risk-taking behavior, and judgment.

Lower weight gain risk
Several studies have proved that obesity establishes its direct association with sleep deprivation. Researchers suggested sleep deprivation is associated with higher levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone), salt retention and inflammatory markers. They also noted that decreased sleep results in increased fatigue, which may affect a person’s desire or ability to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Greater body strength
“A good night’s sleep is an elixir to the body’s strength and stamina.” Adequate sleep not only helps the body to relax, but it also gives the body, time to heal, thus resulting in
• better endurance
• more energy
• better accuracy and reaction time
• faster speed
• better mental functioning

Lower risk of heart disease
High blood pressure and stress account for heart disease. Getting adequate rest each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself. Getting a good night’s sleep can also reduce the chances of sleep-related conditions such as apnea and promote better overall heart health.

More emotional and social intelligence
Sleep is often undervalued in maintaining 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. This affects the behavioral patterns and relationships of an individual.

Preventing depression
Sound sleep builds and strengthens the neurological pathways. The chances of mental illness increase in a sleep-deprived individual. Sleep loss may result in cognitive alterations that lead to higher risk of depression. Sleep disturbance may also impair emotional regulation and stability, as well as altering neural processes, which may all lead to symptoms of depression.


Lower inflammation

Missing out on a proper sleep regime can invite numerous health issues. There is a link between getting adequate sleep and reducing inflammation in the body. A person who gets inconsistent sleep by sleeping and waking up at different times, can disturb the body’s process of regulating inflammation during sleep.

Stronger immune system
The three R’s-repair, regenerate, and recover, are directly related to having adequate sleep. The body’s immune system is directly linked to the sleep mechanism. Deep sleep is necessary for the body to repair itself and strengthen the immune system.  Sleep is an important period of bodily rest, and studies indicate that it plays a crucial role in the robustness of our immune system. In fact, sleep contributes to both innate and adaptive immunity.

Researchers have found that during nightly sleep, certain components of the immune system cycle up. When someone is ill or injured, this inflammatory response may help with recovery, fortifying innate and adaptive immunity as the body works to repair wounds or fight off an infection.

Sleep Duration:
When thinking about getting the sleep you need, it is normal to focus on how many hours of sleep you get. While sleep duration is undoubtedly important, it is not the only part of the equation.

It is also critical to think about sleep quality and whether the time spent sleeping is actually restorative. Progressing smoothly multiple times through the sleep cycle, composed of four separate sleep stages, is a crucial part of getting high-quality rest.

Each sleep stage plays a part in allowing the mind and body to wake up refreshed. Recognizing the sleep cycle also helps explain how certain sleep disorders, including insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea, can impact a person’s sleep and health.

A healthy sleep cycle consists of multiple stages. On a night when you get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, you’ll cycle through each of these stages. Each stage has a different duration, and for some of the stages, their duration will change throughout the course of the night.

What Are the Stages of Sleep?

The four stages of sleep fall into two categories. The first three stages are considered non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM), while the fourth and final stage is rapid eye movement (REM). As the name suggests, REM sleep is distinguished by erratic eye movements behind closed eyelids, but there are other key differences between the REM and NREM stages.

The general breakdown for your sleep cycle stages is as follows:

Sleep Cycle Stage Type of Sleep Duration
NREM 1 Non-rapid eye movement 1 to 5 minutes
NREM 2 Non-rapid eye movement 25 to 60 minutes
NREM 3 Non-rapid eye movement 20 to 40 minutes
REM Rapid eye movement 10 to 60 minutes

Stage 1/NREM 1

The NREM 1 stage marks the transition between wakefulness and sleep, when alpha waves gradually give way to low-amplitude mixed frequency brain activity. It is a period of light non-REM sleep that slows down a person’s heart rate, breathing, eye movements, and brain waves. The muscles also relax, although they may twitch occasionally. It is the shortest sleep stage, typically lasting one to five minutes per cycle and representing only about 5% of your overall sleep. It is also the stage with the lightest sleep, meaning your sleep can be easily disrupted.

Stage 2/NREM 2

NREM 2 is also considered a light sleep stage, occurring before you transition into deep sleep. During this stage, the muscles continue to relax. Heartbeat, breathing rate, and muscle activity all continue to decrease. Additionally, the body temperature drops and eye movements cease. This is the longest of four sleep stages, representing about 50% of your total sleep time. Usually, NREM 2 stage lasts about 25 minutes or so, but its duration increases with subsequent sleep cycles.

During NREM 2, your brain may display brief bursts of activity known as sleep spindles. Usually lasting no longer than three seconds, spindles are thought to help your body ignore external stimuli and allow you to progress into deeper sleep.

Most sleep experts suggest timing your afternoon siesta to end during the NREM 1 or NREM 2 stages. Waking up during these stages is associated with more alertness. Trying to wake up during the NREM 3 or REM stages can make you feel overly groggy upon waking.

Stage 3/NREM 3

The beginning of deep sleep is marked by third stage or NREM 3. It is the deepest stage of sleep and the hardest to awaken from. During this stage, heart rate, breathing, and brain waves become regular. Muscles also become completely relaxed. The stage is longer during the first half of the night.

During the first half of the night, a person experiences the deep sleep. With each sleep cycle, the amount of deep sleep decreases.

Waking up during this stage can cause mental fogginess and difficulty concentrating. This condition is called Sleep Inertia and can continue for up to an hour after waking.

Stage 4/REM

REM sleep represents a dramatic departure from the three preceding stages. Although your body is completely at rest, electroencephalogram (EEG) readings indicate brain activity is similar to that of an awake person. Heart rate and blood pressure also increase, and your eyes also move erratically from side to side behind their eyelids.

REM sleep is when most of your dreams occur. Your body and limbs experience a temporary paralysis during this stage – research suggests this restricts you from physically acting out on your dreams. The REM stage is associated with memory consolidation and creative problem-solving.

The first REM stage occurs about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and lasts 10 minutes. The duration of this stage increases during the night, eventually lasting up to an hour.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, hearing how important it is may be frustrating. But simple things can improve your odds of a good night’s sleep. For everyone, “as best you can, try to make sleep a priority,” Brown says. “Sleep is not a throwaway thing—it’s a biological necessity.”

Author: Ms. Gunjan Kaushik, PRT English, MRIS, Sector-14, Faridabad.