Healthy sleep is quite more difficult then most think. Recently I was asked about risk factors and concerns for not getting enough sleep.
“Sleep is one of the most overlooked areas in the improvement of your own health. “
But on the flip side, it may be a very difficulty concept or rather practice for some. And often we have trained ourselves so much that we think we are better off when we don’t get enough. Insomnia or difficulty sleeping can be detrimental and should be closely monitored.
It is not only essential for your body but it is equally important for your mind. Dreams and sleep are quite necessary and constant interruptions or decrease in the amount of sleep can be detrimental both emotionally and physically.
Sleep is different for so many people. Balance of family and work and schedule is quite demanding and difficult for most. Some form of sleep is necessary for all. The more is usually the better but watch out for too much sleep – it can be as much of a problem as too little.
How much sleep is needed?
Adults – need between 6 and 8 hours of sleep
School age children and teens – need 9 hours
Newborns – need between 16 and 18 hours
Preschool children – need 10 and 12
What happens while you sleep?
Your Brain never stops nor does your heart. But while asleep different metabolic and physiologic events occur. Sleep allows your body to rest but it also allows your body to recover.
Recovery is much more important than rest. Some argue that the ability to learn may, in some way, depend on our ability to recover and sleep.
Health Risks Due to Poor Sleep:
1.) Illness – you may be 3 times more likely to get sick when not getting enough sleep
2.) Stress – this is the case of filling the bucket – as stress is added on your life – sooner or later it will overflow – you may snap at a family member, a co-worker, or that idiot that just cut you off while driving.
3.) Depression – Depression is much more likely in someone who has little sleep. However – this can
also be argued that depression may cause you to sleep to little or to much
4.) Overweight – hormones that are used and may be synthesized during sleep may be altered.
This change can lead or increase your risk for weight gain.
- If you are awake more you may consume more
- Some get so fatigued they don’t want to take the time to make a proper meal – when fatigued the Happy Meal sounds so much better than a salad – you know it’s true!!
5.) Hypertension – high blood pressure may be seen in those getting little sleep
6.) Diabetes- increase weight gain and worse diet lead many to diabetes and a common denominator is lack of sleep – watch out
7.) Heart Disease – increase risk for above mention items increases your risk for heart disease
8.) Hormones – often for children – growth hormone, proteins, and other necessary growth related events are necessary and sleep helps regulate and control proper adolescent growth.
9.) Falling asleep while driving
10.) Making mistakes at work or other
12 possible sleep options
1.) No alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine prior to bed
3.) Keep the same sleep schedule
4.) If you can’t sleep – get up and do something – then try again – If you can’t sleep don’t remain in bed
5.) Be careful of medication that may cause you to be awake
6.) Take a hot bath prior to sleeping
7.) Meditate, read, write in journal just prior to sleep
8.) Don’t take a nap after 4 pm and try to keep them under 60 minutes
9.) If your bed is uncomfortable – get a new one – this is essential
10.) Take away TV, music, or other distractions [If these affect you]
11.) Meet with a medical provider if you have a sleep disorder or may have one – don’t hesitate to get treatment
12.) You need the sun – get outside for at least 30-60 minutes
*** - Remember you may be different and the above items may not apply to you and some items may be the only way you fall asleep. Often this has to due with the way you have trained your body.
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