Peaceful sleep is important for a healthy life. Generally, for an adult, 7-8 hours of calm sleep is considered to be normal Malnourished people have disturbed patterns of sleep.

The type of last meal intake at night and the interval duration between the time of intake and going to bed for sleeping plays critical role on duration and quality of sleep. Extra spicy and hot meal can cause delayed and disturbed sleep. The last meal, preferably nutrition-rich (carbohydrate, protein and fat but not in excess) but easy to digest is recommended for peaceful and prolonged sleep. Avoid taking sugar, chickpea, reddish rich diet in the last meal and prefer whole grain food over processed carbohydrate food. Rather include raw vegetables, tomato, onion, cucumber, carrot/beet root, capsicum, soaked in fresh lemon juice and fruits in the last meal. These commodities would provide the body lycopene, thiamin, total folate, folic acid, phosphorus, iron, zinc, selenium. Spring /tap/well (suitable for drinking) water facilitates better quality sleep than commercially available filtered desalted water. An interval of 3-4 hours between the last meal and time for retiring can help in better sleep. Drinking a glass of milk (cold) with a banana or naturally fermented cheeses (not the processed sort) with a slice of whole grain bread around an hour ago the time when you plan to sleep is always helpful. Avoid taking tea coffee very often during the day. Avoid taking hot milk, soup, ice-cream, water in large quantity etc at least two hours before going to bed. The hot drinks alter the body temperature, that plays key role in facilitating the sleep process whereas ice-cream is rich in fat as well as sugar: fat requires longer time to digest leading to increase in temperature for longer duration whereas sugar present in ice-creams delays the process of sleep.

The problem of disturb sleep can be minimised by avoiding frequent change in rotating shift duties and critically schedule their diet intake time with having the needed interval.

FAIZA ABDUR RAB,

Karachi, November 15.