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The Dangers of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Jun 8, 2008
Everyone knows that our bodies need sleep to function. When we don't get enough sleep, we often feel sluggish and lack our full ability to process information and even have problems functioning physically, however lack of sleep can also cause health problems or lead to an accident if you fall asleep behind the wheel while driving.

National traffic safety experts report that drivers who fall asleep at the wheel cause more fatal accidents than drivers that are impaired by alcohol, and we all know that drinking while intoxicated is a bad idea, so if drinking while tired is even more dangerous, than it is best to not get begind the wheel when tired. The rigors of jobs and family are largely responsible for the number of people risking their lives and the lives of others by driving when sleepy.

The dangers of not getting the sleep your body needs is not confined to your safety when driving; depriving your body of sleep poses a threat to the functioning of your body, and to your physical and emotional health as well.

Suppressed immune systems and an increased susceptibility to illness and disease are dangers of not getting enough sleep that begins to occur with just a few missed hours of sleep in order to function properly. When illness and disease occur, the body is less resistant to the affects and stresses that illness and disease place upon it, if it has not been getting the sleep it requires.

Recovery from typical illnesses such as colds and the flu are prolonged, and survival rates for people suffering from major diseases are significantly lowered when the immune system is not able to function properly because of a serious lack of sleep that the body needs to power such functions.

Vulnerability to injuries and an overall weakening of the body are further dangers. When the body is weighed down by fatigue, your reactions are slowed and this increases the likelihood for sustaining injuries through falls and being unable to move away from dangers quickly.

A decrease in mental processes such as thinking and retaining information, focus, decision making, and the state of our emotions are further dangered by not getting enough sleep. When sleep deprived the body can not power its own functions that control these mental processes such as producing the hormones the body uses to regulate emotions and to give the brain the ability to collect, perceive, remember, evaluate, and respond to different information and stimuli to/from the brain.

Quite often the stress of daily life the average person faces can interfere with being able to go to bed at night, or the ability to sleep through the night to get all of the sleep the body needs. Exercise is a very good way to relieve the stress that can interfere with getting the sleep your body requires.

How much sleep your body needs to escape from the dangers of not getting the sleep you need may depend upon your level of physical activity and the nature of the demands that your job and family place upon you and your stress level as a result of those demands.

Experts generally recommend that we get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to give our bodies the sleep it needs, but you may find that you need more sleep in order to feel fully rested or that you feel fully rested with only 7 hours of sleep a night. Listen to what your body tells you about how rested you feel with 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. Increase your sleeping hours if 7-8 hours of sleep does not help you to wake up feeling fully rested. If you find yourself feeling sleepy throughout the day even with 10 hours of sleep nightly, for more than a week, consult your doctor.
About the Author
Renowned personal trainer, nutritionist and entrepreneur, Scott White has written several new books on fitness and training including, Fitness Competition Guide and How to Become a Celebrity Personal Trainer; all of his books can be found at his website White Incorporated.
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