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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sleep Glorious Sleep

Sleeping is one of the most important things that we do on a daily basis. If you are like me, you find yourself at times sacrificing sleep in order to get everything you need/want to get accomplished each day. A recent survey found that more and more, people are sleeping less than six hours per night. The average person needs approximately eight hours of sleep a night, consistently in order to function a maximum level. That being said, some people are able to function with as little as six hours and other need as much as ten hours of sleep a night. Just one day of sleep deprivation is enough to alter a person's mood, physical and mental functioning.

Sleep is the body's way to rejuvenate each day. Here are a few other reasons as to why getting enough sleep is important:

1. Sleep deprivation can have an impact on your physical health, by altering your immune
functioning, impacting your heartbeat, and increasing your risk for hypertension.
2. Sleep deprivation can also affect a person's mood, increasing irritability, impatience,
increasing difficulties concentrating, causing fatigue, and increasing the likelihood of
depression and anxiety.
3. A lack of sleep can affect a person's safety, for example delaying decision making time when
driving.
4. A person's weight and metabolism can be affected by a lack of sleep, in how the body
processes and stores the food we eat.
5. Sleep impacts our ability to learn and retain the information that we have learned.

Some people find getting enough sleep is difficult due to their job or family responsibilities. Another major cause of short term sleep problems is stress. It is important to take care of both your body's physical and mental needs.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of you sleep, and combat some sleep difficulties you may be experiencing:

1. Try to establish a sleep/bedtime routine. By putting yourself on a schedule it will help your
body's internal clock know when it is time to shut down.
2. Try not to consume caffeine for about five hours prior to going to bed.
3. Try to avoid smoking or alcohol prior to going to bed.
4. Get regular exercise, but do not exercise prior to going to bed, plan it for earlier in the day.
5. Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable for you - temperature, lighting, sound.

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