Recent surveys showed that of the people polled, the percentage of individuals that had been educated on the importance of regular exercise and healthy eating was in the high 90 percentile. When polled about how much they had been educated about the importance of sleep the percentage fell to just over 1%.
The truth is just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal health and happiness, so is sleep. The quality and quantity of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!
Though the exact mechanisms of how sleep works, how sleep rejuvenates the body and mind is a mystery, one thing sleep specialists and scientists do know is that adequate sleep is necessary for healthy functioning. Research shows that all mammals need sleep, and that sleep regulates mood and is related to learning and memory functions. Not only will getting good sleep help you perform on a test, learn a new skill, make better decisions and help you stay on task, but it may also be a critical factor in your health, weight and energy level.
So how much sleep do you need? The general consensus is between 7-9 hours a night for adults. For most adults 7.5 hours is adequate but each person must evaluate their own behaviors to decide if that is enough sleep for them.
Some of the signs that you may not be getting enough sleep are:
What are some of effects of sleep deprivation?
- Need an alarm clock in order to wake up on time
- Rely on the snooze button
- Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
- Feel sluggish in the afternoon
- Get sleepy in meetings, lectures, or warm rooms
- Get drowsy after heavy meals or when driving
- Need to nap to get through the day
- Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening
- Feel the need to sleep in on weekends
- Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed
- Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
- Moodiness and irritability
- Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
- Inability to cope with stress
- Reduced immunity; frequent colds and infections
- Concentration and memory problems
- Weight gain
- Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents
- Difficulty making decisions
- Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems
Most of us are very busy and many times the only way we know to get all the things done that must be done - is to cut back on the sleep time. But with all this at stake it may be time to rethink and if possible delegate.
Regular exercise, good nutrition and adequate sleep are essential keys for a long, happy and healthy life.