Sleep Importance

By Audrey Marlene

Sleep Importance

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."

A lack of sleep can produce the following:

  • Decreased brain metabolic activity of the brain
  • Difficulties with learning and memory
  • A compromised immune system
  • Lowering of our body’s temperature
  • Decrease in the release of growth hormone – especially in children
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Issues of safety – people can fall asleep while driving, human error
  • Moodiness

    The National Sleep foundation, recommends 7-9 hours per night. There are some people who may need less while others may need more. Age has a big bearing on the number of hours needed.

    Success in not only measured in terms of wealth or material possessions but also in quality of one's health. Giving up your health or your life in the pursuit of wealth is not a formula for success – on the contrary. Wouldn't you like to be able to enjoy all the fruits of your hard work with some measure of health? Sleep is critical to good health.

    Why do we Need Sleep?

    At once time we all believed that sleep was a period in which the brain would shut down. However, research now shows that although we are asleep, the brain is still in an active state. Sleep is a time for restoring and resetting certain basic bodily functions. Based on research and established theories there are many reasons for sleep importance.

  • Sleep restores the body's physical energy that is depleted throughout the day. Just think about how exhausted you will be if you didn't get sleep.
  • During sleep, the body goes into repair mode rebuilding muscle tissue.
  • Growth hormones are secreted during sleep, which is essential for children's growth and rebuilding tissues in adulthood.
  • Sleep allows the brain to revitalize mental energy. Scientists believe that during sleep the brain may be organizing and storing information. Have you noticed when you don't get enough sleep how forgetful you are and how cranky you feel? It seems like the brain is most affected by lack of sleep.
  • 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.

    To read the entire article click HERE

    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?

    To read the full article click HERE

    Improve Your Sleep

    There are many reasons why one can lose a good night's sleep:

  • Excessive worry, depression.
  • Constant interruptions.
  • Working at night or travel across time zones.
  • A hectic lifestyle.
  • Insomnia-when there are too many things on the mind it cannot shut down resulting in poor quality of sleep.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Symptoms of menopause.

    No matter the reason for losing sleep, a conscious decision must be made to give sleep importance its priority and improve your sleeping habits in order to live a healthy, happy life and achieve the success you deserve. Here are some ways to improve your ability to sleep.

  • Incorporate some cardiovascular activity into your daily schedule but make sure to do it at least one hour before bedtime.
  • Manage your time well so you can establish a regular bedtime routine. Quit working at least one hour before bed. Have a cup of warm, soothing decaffeinated tea and do some deep breathing exercises. Experience calmness before you fall off to sleep. Try to get to bed the same time each night.
  • Avoid bedtime snacks, especially sweets. Sugar intake at bedtime will raise blood sugar and prevent you from sleeping. During the night when blood sugar drops too low you may awake and have difficulties falling back to sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Have a nice warm shower before bedtime and make sure your room is set at a cool temperature.
  • Avoid watching television while lying in bed. Instead read something calming or inspirational to feed your spiritual need.
  • Avoid drinking too much fluid two hours before bedtime to prevent waking up to use the bathroom.
  • Biofeedback. You can learn many relaxing techniques here
  • If all else fails speak to you physician.

    Sleep importance is essential to optimal performance. Don't take it for granted. A great success strategy is understanding the importance of sleep and taking the necessary steps to introduce some good habits to promote it. Here's to your success!

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