Sleep is critical to your health to Restore the Body
Sleep is critical to your health. While some seem to think that sleep is a waste of their time and wish that they could sleep less and hence, accomplish more, it really isn’t an option to live without adequate sleep.
Missing out on a good night’s sleep can seriously affect what happens when you’re awake.
One way to understand why we need sleep is to look at what happens when we don’t get enough.
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As you know, if you have ever pulled an all-nighter, missing one night of sleep is not fatal. A person will generally be irritable during the next day and will either slow down (become tired easily) or will be totally wired because of adrenalin.
If a person misses two nights of sleep, it gets worse. Concentration is difficult, and attention span falls by the wayside. Mistakes increase.
After three days, a person may start to hallucinate and clear thinking is impossible. With continued wakefulness a person can lose grasp of reality.
A person who gets just a few hours of sleep per night can experience many of the same problems over time.
Two other things are known to happen during sleep. Growth hormone in children is secreted during sleep, and chemicals important to the immune system are secreted during sleep. You can become more prone to disease if you don’t get enough sleep, and a child’s growth can be stunted by sleep deprivation.
But the question remains — why do we need to sleep? No one really knows, but there are all kinds of theories, including these:
- Sleep gives the body a chance to repair muscles and other tissues, replace aging or dead cells, etc.
- Sleep gives the brain a chance to organize and archive memories. Dreams are thought by some to be part of this process.
- Sleep lowers our energy consumption, so we need three meals a day rather than four or five.
What we all know is that, with a good night’s sleep, everything looks and feels better in the morning. Both the brain and the body are refreshed and ready for a new day.
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How Much Sleep Do I Need?
Most adult people seem to need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. This is an average, and it is also subjective. You, for example, probably know how much sleep you need in an average night to feel your best.
The amount of sleep you need decreases with age. A newborn baby might sleep 20 hours a day. By age four, the average is 12 hours a day. By age 10, the average falls to 10 hours a day. Senior citizens can often get by with six or seven hours a day.
Tips to Improve Your Sleep
- Exercise regularly, but not to close to bed time. Exercise helps tire and relax your body.
- Don’t consume caffeine after 4:00 p.m. or so. Avoid other stimulants like cigarettes as well.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol disrupts the brain’s normal patterns during sleep.
- Try to stay in a pattern with a regular bedtime and wakeup time, even on weekends.
- Sleep in a dark room that is a few degrees cooler than the rest of your inside environment.
When you understand the importance of sleep to your health it is easier to commit to seeing that you actually get those much needed winks!
One final tip – when you wake up in the morning, one of the first things you should do is reach for a glass of water! This will help to flush your system in the repair processes that have gone on throughout the night!