Something we take for granted, unless we suffer from insomnia, but a subject about which much has been written – SLEEP

In to-day’s busy world, the time spent sleeping is the only area from which you can snatch a little time to cram all your other businesses into a crowded day. Don’t do it. The consequences far outweigh any of its perceived benefits.

According to recent articles from Self Magazine and Yahoo Health, depriving your body of its required eight hours is virtually self-destructive.

When you feel tired you are more inclined to eat because you feel depleted. “People who log a solid eight hours tend to weigh less. Ample shut-eye encourages your body to produce more of the fullness hormone leptin and less of the hunger hormone ghrelin, plus it helps ease anxiety and depression, both of which can trigger emotional eating”

Lack of sleep can disturb your reaction times. You may become clumsy, causing any number of accidents. Your brain is processing information more slowly so that your coordination and concentration can be lower than those with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05!

“Before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1880, people slept an average of 10 hours a night. These days Americans average 6.9 hours on weeknights and 7.5 on weekends”, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

According to Dr. Greg Belenky, director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University Spokane, “The performance effects are seen immediately.

You short-change yourself of sleep and you see the effects immediately. You can make a bad decision. You can miss something. Have a moment’s inattention, and you’re off the road.”

Too little sleep interferes with the body’s ability to regulate glucose and can cause inflammation leading to heart problems and a rise in blood pressure. “There’s a stress response to being in a sleep loss,” Belenky said.

People suffering sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome should consult their doctor or see a sleep specialist

“Sleeping pills are a temporary solution,” Belenky said. “If you’re upset about something or have situational insomnia, or you’re trying to sleep at the wrong time of day because you’ve traveled across time zones, they are effective.”

The U.S. National Institutes of Health offers these tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

“Stick to a regular sleep schedule
“Avoid exercising closer than five or six hours before bedtime
“Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed
“Avoid large meals and beverages late at night
“Don’t take a nap after 3 p.m.
“Relax before bed, taking time to unwind with a hot bath, good book or soothing music
“If you’re awake after more than 20 minutes in bed, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy. Anxiety over not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep

If you would like more information, visit the National Sleep Foundation

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