BENEFITS OF A FULL NIGHT'S SLEEP:
1 - Mental Functioning
Without enough sleep, we can not concentrate or focus enough to learn effectively. Also, we are not able to consolidate new information to store it in our memory.
Public health risk: sleep deprivation while driving as dangerous as driving drunk. It is estimated that sleep deprivation is a factor in 100,000 accidents per year and 1500 deaths. (NIH)
2 - Heart Health
The body repairs and heals itself while we sleep. Not having enough time for that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease or stroke.
People who get six or fewer hours of sleep per night have higher levels of inflammatory proteins. Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging.
3 - Immunity
Your immune system can not function properly without adequate sleep.
There is new research that shows that well rested people who get the flu shot develop stronger immunity against the flu.
4 - Weight Maintenance
You are more likely to be obese if you are sleep deprived. Sleep helps to control the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) and full (leptin). When we don't get enough sleep, ghrelin increases and leptin decreases, so we end up feeling hungrier.
Sleep deprivation can also effect how we process insulin. Not having enough sleep raises you blood sugar level, which can put you at risk for diabetes.
5 - Mood
Sleep deprivation can have a significant negative inpact on your mood
Lack of sleep can contribute to depression and anxiety. Getting a good night's sleep helps you to be more emotionally stable.
Kids do not react the same way as adults when they don't have enough sleep. Frequently, kids can get hyperactive instead of sleepy when they are tired.
WAYS TO HELP GET MORE SLEEP
1) Make sleep a priority -
When we have a neverending To-Do list, staying up late or getting up early to "get things done" seems like a good idea. However, cutting into your necessary sleep will make it that much harder to be productive when you are awake.
2) Stick to a schedule-
It's so tempting to "sleep-in" on the weekends, but that could hurt your ability to fall asleep that night. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day helps to regulate your bodies sleep-wake rhythm
3) Create a "Wind Down" Routine -
An hour before you go to sleep, create a routine that is relaxing for you - take a shower, read a book, gentle stretching, etc - whatever you find particularly relaxing. Avoid violent or dramatic television shows right before you want to fall asleep. The activities themselves are relaxing, but also the pattern that you establish helps cue your body (and brain!) that its time to fall asleep
4) Sleep in a dark room -
Having a bright light on (or the light from the TV) could signal the brain that it's time to be awake
5) Avoid nicotine and caffeine (stimulants) -
The stimulant effect of caffeine can last up to 8 hours. So, having a cup of coffee in the late afternoon may interfere with falling asleep that night
What are your strategies for getting a good night's sleep?
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