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You Don't Have Time To Sleep? Think Again!

Jan 31, 2008
You wake up early in the morning, rushing to get the day started. When you arrive at school or work, you immediately plow into a busy schedule of activities that take you right through your day. When you're finished, you look forward to engaging in the activities that you enjoy the most, and squeeze as many of those into your days he possibly can. A little time for dinner, a little relaxation, and off to bed you go so that you can do it all again tomorrow.

Sound familiar?

It's the life so many of us lead. Sleep. Eat. Work. And maybe find some time to play in the middle. Keeping a balance of these activities helps us make sure that were doing okay and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

What happens when we get out of balance? For many of us, the first thing to go when schedules get busy is sleep. Although it is so critically important, we tend to sacrifice sleep in place of doing things we enjoy or finishing things we must get done. The truth, however, is that most of us can't afford to lose much sleep. Many people don't get enough sleep as it is, and getting less sleep can have many negative facts on the other parts of our lives.

The lack of sleep can have adverse effects on the physical, mental, and emotional parts of your life. The more obvious effects of sleep deprivation are the physical and mental problems that occur. Most people who are lacking sleep experience diminished alertness, reaction time, and memory. What's not so obvious, though, are some of the long-term health problems that have been associated with sleep deprivation. Depression, heart problems and even obesity have been linked to the lack of sleep.

The body does a lot of self - maintenance while sleeping. By releasing hormones like cortisol, it can combat circulatory diseases. The body also produces blood pressure and heart rate and the circulatory system is able to rest and recover in order to prepare for the next day. Lack of sleep can also affect the body's ability to produce white blood cells which are so important to fighting infections.

Without sleep, the body also stops reacting properly to hunger. Leptin is a hormone that is created while sleeping and allows the body to properly sense when it has enough food. Without proper levels of leptin, people feel hungry and will eat more food than they need. This can lead to many other problems including obesity.

So how much that you really need? The number varies significantly for each and every person, but the national sleep foundation has come up with a basic set of guidelines to fit individuals in various stages of life. Most adults will find themselves needing between seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Teenagers, typically need 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night, while schoolchildren will need 10 to 11 hours of sleep every night.

Is it realistic to make sure that you will always fall within the recommended amount of sleep every night? Of course not. But setting a schedule that allots for the proper amount of sleep can help avoid taking on "sleep debt", or sleep deprivation, which country are so many other problems.

Certainly, many of the situations and illnesses listed above are worst-case scenarios and the occasional loss of an hour of sleep here or there isn't likely to become the cause of some life altering illness. However, as schedules get tighter and life gets busier it's always good to step back for a moment and consider just how much sleep and rest you are giving your body. Without enough sleep, it's safe to say you might be doing a lot more damage to your body than you think.
About the Author
Enrique Padilla is an avid sleeper and contributes a wide variety of articles to Foam Bed Advisor, http://www.foambedadvisor.com , which is full of information about memory foam beds, mattresses, pillows and mattress toppers.
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