DAY 5- Get 8 hours of sleep

Similar to the post in day 4 our daily lives are so crazy busy. It seems that we always cut down on the essentials of living such as food and sleep. In order for our bodies to keep up we need to feed it properly as well as give it time to recover and mend.
The information below is from an article that I read online. I liked it because it was easy to understand and had good information in it including the stages of sleep and why its important.

To read the full article see it here
Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Robert Segal, M.A. Last updated: June 2012.

Understanding sleep

Sleep isn’t merely a time when your body and brain shut off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing a wide variety of biological maintenance tasks that keep you running in top condition and prepare you for the day ahead. Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you’re like a car in need of an oil change. You won’t be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential. Regularly skimp on “service” and you’re headed for a major mental and physical breakdown.

It’s not just the number of hours in bed that is important—it’s the quality of those hours of sleep. If you’re giving yourself plenty of time for sleep, but you’re still having trouble waking up in the morning or staying alert all day, you may not be spending enough time in the different stages of sleep—especially deep sleep and REM sleep. By understanding how the sleep cycles work and the factors that can lead to those cycles being disrupted, you’ll be able to start getting both the quantity and the quality of sleep you need.

The sleep-wake cycle

Your internal 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, otherwise known as biological clock or circadian rhythm, is regulated by processes in the brain that respond to how long you’ve been awake and the changes between light and dark. At night, your body responds to the loss of daylight by producing melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. During the day, sunlight triggers the brain to inhibit melatonin production so you feel awake and alert.

This sleep-wake cycle can be disrupted by factors such as nightshift work, traveling across time zones, or irregular sleeping patterns, leaving you feeling groggy, disoriented, and sleepy at inconvenient times. The production of melatonin can also be thrown off when you’re deprived of sunlight during the day or exposed to too much artificial light at night, disrupting the sleep-wake cycle and preventing you from getting the sleep you need.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than 7 hours per night. In today’s fast-paced society, 6 or 7 hours of sleep may sound pretty good. In reality, it’s a recipe for chronic sleep deprivation.

While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.

You may be sleep deprived if you…

  • Need an alarm clock in order to wake up on time
  • Rely on the snooze button
  • Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
  • Feel sluggish in the afternoon
  • Get sleepy in meetings, lectures, or warm rooms
  • Get drowsy after heavy meals or when driving
  • Need to nap to get through the day
  • Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening
  • Feel the need to sleep in on weekends
  • Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed

While it may seem like losing sleep isn’t such a big deal, sleep deprivation has a wide range of negative effects that go way beyond daytime drowsiness.

The effects of sleep deprivation and chronic lack of sleep

  • Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Inability to cope with stress
  • Reduced immunity; frequent colds and infections
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems
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