Sleep is one of the most important things that you can do for your self, especially if you are wanting to be healthy. Without enough sleep, your body and mind will not, and can not, function properly. More and more, I hear people talking about how difficult it is to get a good nights sleep. Whether it is about waking up in the middle of the night and letting the mind go off into worry land, or that your life gets in the way of allowing enough time for it, eight hours of sleep is not what most of us are getting these days.
Without the proper amount of sleep, and this varies in the age of a person and their basal sleep need, our bodies can not rejuvenate and restore as they are meant to do while we are at rest. Babies and children require much more sleep than adults do, but every individual is different when it comes to how much sleep they need. However studies show that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep for optimal health. There are people that can be healthy on 5 to 7 hours a night, but most of us need more.
Studies from the University of Chicago state that there is laboratory evidence that short sleep durations of 4-5 hours have negative physiological and neurobehavioral consequences. Many individuals who think they can function on 4-5 hours a night should rethink this and try for an hour or two more if they want their body's to function in a healthy manner.
A study out of Harvard claims that getting enough sleep is required for learning and memory. Sleep helps the brain to remember new information in a process called memory consolidation.
Chronic sleep deprivation can also cause weight gain and obesity. It effects the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and alters the levels of hormones that effect appetite.
Lack of sleep can also cause more traffic accidents due to drowsiness and falling asleep at the wheel of a car. We have also seen a rash of Air Traffic Controllers falling asleep while at work due to long hours and lack of sleep. This could be the cause of a major accident in the air.
Sleep loss can be the cause of mood changes like, irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. It can also cause fatigue and tiredness.
Serious sleep deprivation can cause hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat. It can also alter our immune function including the activity of the bodies killer cells.
Studies also show a link to living longer with better quality of life when we get more than 6 and half hours per night. Proper sleep will also reduce body inflammation which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging.
Enough sleep can improve your creativity, athletic performance, attention span, and lowers the risk of depression. Let's face it, sleep is vital for optimal health in many areas of our life.
Many people brag about getting just a few hours of sleep a night. It is really nothing to brag about. It is similar to bragging about not drinking enough water in a day. You may seem alright, but your body needed and would have functioned much better had you drank enough water. Sleep is the same. You may think your O.K., but you will function much better with the right amount of sleep.
There are ways to prepare for a good nights sleep. It is important to turn off the televisions, computers, and other things that create light and noise in your sleep environment. You should not eat right before you go to bed, especially sugar. Do not watch stressful or violent movies and television before you sleep. Try to meditate for fifteen or thirty minutes before bedtime. Stretching is also good to do before going to sleep. Think of good thoughts. Still your mind chatter. Make sure you have a comfortable sleep space, i.e. clean bedding, mattress, etc.
If you are wanting to be at your best, get the sleep you need. Sleep is one of the most important things in your life if you want health of body and mind. I personally love, love, love, my sleep! If I could get nine hours every night....I would! So get your sleep and have Sweet Dreams, your body and mind will love it.
Wishing You Health and Happiness,