The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. Getting enough sleep ranks right up there with proper nutrition and being active. In fact all other aspects of your life will probably suffer if you do not get enough sleep.
Why Sleep Is Important
Sleep is essential for a person’s health and overall well being, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep. For example, surveys conducted by the NSF (1999-2004) reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more.
The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
Let’s face it. The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.
The Importance of Sleep on Your Physical Health
Sleep plays an crucial role in your physical health. When you are sleeping your body is busy healing and working to repair your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. For example, one study of teenagers showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up. Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity in other age groups as well.
Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.
Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a role in puberty and fertility.
Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.
My Own Struggles With Getting Enough Sleep
As I have mentioned in other posts I have some anxiety issues. And as terrible as this sounds I am a bit terrified to go to bed and be alone with my own thoughts. So my “solution” is to have my laptop with me and put on a show to “fall asleep to”.
This is ridiculous and it has to stop. I have LONG been an opponent to having a television in the bedroom. And yet here I am with a laptop at night watching a movie. When I inevitably wake up I will actually put on another show! So my sleep is fractured at best.
And the best part of all this is that a lack of sleep is a factor for having anxiety. So as of today no more electronics in my bedroom at night. I will read before bed and that is it.
Even having a cell phone in the bedroom can disrupt your sleep because of the invisible electro-magnetic waves given off by ALL electronic devices.
What Are The Signs of Sleep Deficiency?
Sleep deficiency can cause problems with learning, focusing, and reacting. You may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering things, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. You may take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes. The importance of sleep in damn near every aspect of your life cannot be overstated.
There Are Products That Can Help You Get More Sleep
Products that make our bedrooms darker, quieter and more comfortable can have major benefits.
It’s been shown that even the smallest amount of light can signal the brain to stop melatonin production. Since melatonin is the hormone that tells the body to sleep, making your room as dark as possible is critical. The best way to do this is with light-blocking curtains.
You can’t take curtains everywhere you travel, so you’re going to need an eye mask for the road. Find one that fits comfortably.
White noise helps you sleep for two reasons. First, it can mask noises. Intermittent noise especially is bad for people with insomnia. You become hyper vigilant about when the next noise is going to come. But if white noise is the right pitch, it can actually be soothing. He likes this noise machine from Brookstone, which offers both white and brown noise settings, which is more like crashing waves or a big, rushing river.
A fan, while not quite as high-tech, also helps block sound. And it has the added benefit of keeping you cool. Honeywell recently conducted a survey about sleep habits and found 85 percent of Americans use some sort of fan while they sleep, and most (8 out of 10) use the fan to stay cool, with white noise being an added bonus.
The C By GE lightbulbs come in daytime and bedroom varieties. The two bulbs emit different spectrums of light — the daytime ones help you focus and stay awake, while the bedroom ones have minimal blue light. Using Bluetooth, you can turn on your nighttime lights from the living room, and even adjust the brightness of the bulbs to correspond with the time of day.
Made from a lightweight latex material that allows more airflow than traditional memory foam.
Now this is a very cool thing! Weighted blankets use deep pressure touch simulation (DPTS) to relax the body and make the patient feel safe, guarded and secure, which calms their unease and helps their body go to sleep. The sensory compression methodology facilitates a positive change with the comfort the blanket brings to its user. The weight of the blanket stimulates the receptors on your body which then activates the neurotransmitters in your brain to bring a sense of happiness to the person.
Getting a healthy amount of sleep is crucial. So I am going to change my nighttime habits and routine in order to get a better sleep. I certainly want to improve my physical health but perhaps more importantly I want to improve my mental health and my outlook on life in general. All of these things are intertwined of course and if I want to actually change my life for the better I need to realize the true importance of sleep on everything I do.
How well do you sleep?
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“Change The Code. Change Your Life.”