It’s a divine gift and the birthright of youth – long, healthy stretches of sweet, deep, tranquil sleep. 10 or 12 hours of blissful, unbroken slumber every night, blanketed by teddy bears, happy times, and childlike innocence. Waking up when Mom called us to breakfast; luxurious Saturdays sleeping in; long afternoon naps; snoozing well past sun-up, until the very moment our alarms would jar us awake – free from the worrisome, sleep-blocking stressors of adulthood.
Kids don’t spend night watches wondering how to pay the mortgage or plan for retirement. For children, sleep is the promise of peaceful rest filled with dreams of adventure, high-flying heroics, and the occasional dragon to vanquish. And every morning when they awake, the sunshine brightly signals another promising day of newness and fun.
This is the kind of quality sleep we all need, no matter how far past “youth” we have come, and no matter how trying it seems in adulthood to attain the elusive, restorative, proper amount of nightly sleep we need.
If you think your days of quality sleep are long gone – you there, middle-ager – you are not alone. This is not a new problem, and for millions of adults, it’s a nightly battle of tossing, turning, clock-watching and panicking in frustration.
For your health – and your family – below are 10 great reasons you need to make quality (and quantity) sleep a priority in your life. (Note: For some of you this may require medical consultation, including a professional sleep study. Consult your physician to determine if you might be a candidate for sleep therapy.)
1. Lose Sleep, Gain Weight – It’s true: insufficient sleep promotes inactivity and is one of the strongest links to obesity.
2. Sleep Less, Eat More – Sleep deprivation increases the hormone levels that stimulate appetite; so while you’re not sleeping, you’re probably binge-eating.
3. Good Sleep Boosts Brain Cognition & Performance – Sleep deficiency hinders brain function, similar to alcohol impairment; good sleep improves mental cognition, productivity, and problem-solving skills.
4. Good Sleep Enhances Athletic Performance – In a study of athletes, longer sleep improved their reaction times, speed, accuracy, and positive attitude.
5. Poor Sleep Leads to Heart Disease & Stroke – Lack of sleep is a direct cause of serious chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke.
6. Sleep Shortage Drastically Affects Blood Sugar – Poor sleep adversely affects blood sugar; one-week sleep-shortage (<six hours per night) experiments caused pre-diabetic symptoms in healthy participants, which were completely resolved after returning to normal sleep.
7. Sleep Disorders Linked to Suicide, Depression – Approximately 90 percent of patients with depression suffer from one or more sleep disorders.
8. Good Sleep Strengthens Your Immune System – In a recent study, participants who slept fewer than seven hours each night were three times as likely to catch colds.
9. Poor Sleep Activates Inflammation & Cell Damage – Sleep deficiency is strongly connected to increased inflammation of the bowel and intestinal tract; sleep-deprived patients with Crohn’s Disease were found to have twice the likelihood of relapse.
10. Sleep Deprivation Impairs Social Skills – Sleep loss impairs our skills for social interaction, identifying behavioral cues, and interpreting emotional responses.
If it takes a special lullaby, your childhood blanket, or a sensory deprivation tank, you need to do what it takes to enter regular, restful sleep. If you burn the candle at both ends for too long, you’ll get burned out. Restore, recharge, and revitalize your life by winding down from your day and hitting the hay early. Whether you’re counting your blessings or counting sheep, make sure you’re getting eight quality hours of sleep each night. Yes, you still need them!
Quality sleep promotes sharper thinking, better health, improved productivity, greater motivation to exercise, and best of all, longer life! To learn more about the importance of good sleep, visit http://ow.ly/WJUK30gGKGh. #YStrongBham #SleepLong #LiveLong!
MISSION: To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
VISION: We will lead our community to become the healthiest in America.
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