Sleep is the last thing on the mind of many of us, caught as we are, in the 24 hr society whirl of our modern world, with its increasing demand on our time. This should not be.
Sleep is vital to our good health. It is vital to our mental and emotional well beings. It determines the quality of our working life.
Lack of sleep contributes to everything from poor grades to traffic accidents. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts our memory, learning and logical reasoning. All this translates into a poorer quality of life.
Most people no longer know what it feels like to be fully alert”, contends Dr. William Dement, Director of Stanford University Sleep Centre. “They go through the day in a sort of twilight-zone, the eyes may be wide open but the brain is partially shut down
Perhaps the most insidious consequence of skimping on sleep is the irritability that increasingly pervades our society. Weariness corrodes civility and erases humor. Without sufficient sleep, tempers flare faster and hotter at the slightest offense.
Today’s teenagers are struggling to juggle demanding academic schedules, friendships, TV, computer games and more. They are horrified by the idea of a good night’s sleep. “My God how would I have time to do anything”. It will interest them to know that recent research has revealed that a good night’s sleep is more for the mind than the body.
One research finding indicates that sleep allows the brain to review and consolidate all the stream of information it gathered while awake. Another suggests that we sleep in order to allow the brain to stock up on fuel and flush out the wastes. A third which has been gaining currency is that sleep operates in a mysterious way to help you master various skills such as how to play the piano, ride a bike, or even max your maths homework. So sleep well and you may just come up trumps at that next video game contest.
How much sleep should you get? “Six hours for a man, seven hours for a woman, eight for a fool”. So said Napoleon. Well, even if the best of us can be wrong at times. Individual needs are as different as color choices or tastes in music. Experts say eight hours are essential for adults. Adolescents even more. A practical stance is that if you feel fatigued or sleepy the following day, you are not getting enough sleep. Talk to your body and discover your own needs.
It was civilization that created the dilemma of sleep loss. The sun dictated the habits of ancient people. Sweeping change came with the discovery of the light bulb. Today we are a round the clock society and the casualty is sleep.
One thing is certain. People who get enough sleep remain awake no matter what the provocation, droning teachers, boring books, endless roads, heavy meals……and even articles about sleep. Sleepy already. Are you?
Wake up by getting more sleep.