Sleep importance must be recognized as a priority in your life. Sleep is necessary for our health and as a result our survival. More studies are confirming this everyday. As a society our hectic lifestyles leaves us scrambling to use as many hours of the day as we can that sleep is now seen as a luxury by many. I heard someone recently say "sleep is such a waste of time." During sleep the immune system may be resetting itself and becoming more armed and ready to defend the body.
As we age our sleep patterns will continue to change. Babies sleep on the average 16 hours per day as compared to older folks who only need 5-6 hours per night. The way to know if you are getting enough sleep is how refreshed you feel when you awake. If you feel refreshed and you don't experience sleepiness during the day, then you are receiving sufficient sleep.
Allow your body to reset and restore itself so you can be alert, sharp and ready to perform optimally. This is critical to your success!
Sleep Deprivation & Psychiatric Disorders
In the past it was believed that psychiatric disorders caused sleep deprivation. According to research psychologist Matthew Walker of the University of California, it's the other way around. He suggests that lack of sleep causes certain psychological disturbances.
Brain imaging studies suggest that sleep deprivation excessively stimulate the areas of the brain associated with depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. The region of the brain known as the limbic system is considered to be our "emotional brain". In Walker’s study, the amygdala, a structure in the limbic system, showed 60% more activity in sleep deprived participants as compared to normal participants. The amygdala seemed to be communicating with a certain region in the brain stem area called the locus coeruleus, which stimulates the production of the hormone adrenaline that triggers fight-or-flight responses. When in a sleep deprived state, people seem to experience mood swings from irritability to anger to being unfocused or scatterbrained.
As science reveals more information related to our emotional health and sleep, let us not ignore these warnings. How do you measure success? Is mental and emotional soundness essential part of your success formula? Take a look at your sleep patterns and decide how you can allow more time for sleep.
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Sleep Deprivation & Memory
As we strive each day to achieve success personally, professionally and academically we need optimal brain power to do so. One critical element of success is our ability to remember. Imagine forgetting important dates, times, people, or deadlines. What will happen?
According to researchers at Harvard University, lack of sleep reduces brain function and impairs our ability to learn and store new information. Brain imaging studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) traced the learning impairment to the hippocampus, a segment of the brain responsible for memory. Researchers found that sleep deprived participants in the study showed a significant decrease in activity in the hippocampus. Researcher Matthew Walker said the sleep deprived participants performed 40% worse than the rested participants. Walker implied that sleep is necessary to process the information we take in each day and for memory storage to take place. A 40% decrease in our brain's ability to remember can make an enormous difference in failure and success.
Imagine that all the data you feed to your computer only 60% is stored. Now imagine a very important meeting or exam and you need to retrieve the information and only 60% is available. How is your success compromised? Just so is our sleep deprived brains. We are not functioning optimally, therefore, our chances of achieving success are significantly decreased.
You may think by cutting sleep you are actually gaining ground but you can be undermining your ability to succeed. Wouldn’t you like to be sharp, alert and ready to remember everything you need to? Wouldn't you like to be functioning at your optimum?
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Improve Your Sleep
There are many reasons why one can lose a good night's sleep: