As I mentioned in my blog last Wednesday, I will be discussing health issues (each Wednesday). One health issue we all have is sleep, or the lack of....zzzzz....
How important is sleep?
Well, according to the Harvard Women's Health Watch, there are six reasons why we should get more sleep:
- Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
- Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
- Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
- Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
- Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
- Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
Wow! Doesn't that make you want to get the amount of sleep you need? So, how much sleep do you need? Well, sleep varies as to who you are, and what you do. For example, are you a young adult or baby; do you have a stressful job, or is your lifestyle more laid back? There are many factors which determine how much sleep one needs.
According to the National Sleep Foundation the following are the recommend amounts of sleep one needs each night. Which does NOT mean you can get a little sleep on some days/nights and then make it up all on the weekend.
Personally, I need about eight hours each night. I can remember
when my children were small, I needed more sleep, yet got much
less. I call those my, "Walking Zombie Years." As my children
have gotten older, life has been better because I have been able to
get my eight hours of sleep.
I read in interesting article about how much sleep we need. It
suggested a couple of interesting things that I do believe will work.
Something else that works for me, is exercise. I have always been
one of those who wake up exhausted. Sleep never seemed to do
much for me and I hated getting up. About six years ago, I started
walking with a group of ladies. We met at 8 a.m., sometimes
7:30, depending on the weather. It gets really hot humid
in Louisiana. Since I have hypoglycemia, I have to eat a decent
breakfast in the morning before I exercise, so I was getting up at 7
so I could do so. For the last few years, I don't need an alarm clock
to get me up. I go to sleep around 11 and wake up ready to hit the
floor by 7. Now, I know most of you work and have to get up at
that time to head that way, but if you make time in your schedule to
exercise, and then go to bed at a decent hour, I promise, you will
not only feel better, but be more productive in your daily activities.
You will also be healthier and happier.
Now that we talked about not getting enough sleep, I'd like to talk a
little about getting too much sleep. This can lead to some health
issues. According to Web Med, here are a few problems that could
arise if you get TOO much sleep.
Diabetes. Studies have shown that sleeping too long or not enough each night can increase the risk for diabetes.
Obesity. Sleeping too much or too little could make you weigh too much, as well. One recent study showed that people who slept for nine or 10 hours every night were 21% more likely to become obese over a six-year period than were people who slept between seven and eight hours. This association between sleep and obesity remained the same even when food intake and exercise were taken into account.
Headaches. For some people prone to headaches, sleeping longer than usual on a weekend or vacation can cause head pain. Researchers believe this is due to the effect oversleeping has on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. People who sleep too much during the day and disrupt their nighttime sleep may also find themselves suffering from headaches in the morning.
Back pain. There was a time when doctors told people suffering from back pain to head straight to bed. But those days are long gone. You do need to curtail your regular exercise program when you are experiencing back pain. But doctors now realize the health benefits of maintaining a certain level of activity. And they recommend against sleeping more than usual, when possible.
Depression. Although insomnia is more commonly linked to depression than oversleeping, roughly 15% of people with depression sleep too much. This may in turn make their depression worse. That's because regular sleep habits are important to the recovery process. Need another reason not to overdo the ZZZs when you're blue? ? In certain instances, sleep deprivation can have a temporary antidepressant effect.
Heart disease. The Nurses' Health Study involved nearly 72,000 women. A careful analysis of the data from that study showed that women who slept nine to 11 hours per night were 38% more likely to have coronary heart disease than women who slept eight hours. Researchers have not yet identified a reason for the connection between oversleeping and heart disease.
Death. Multiple studies have found that people who sleep nine or more hours a night have significantly higher death rates than people sleeping seven to eight hours a night. No specific reason for this correlation has been determined. But researchers found that depression and low socioeconomic status are also associated with longer sleep. They speculate these factors could be related to the observed increase in mortality for people who sleep too much.
Oh wow, scary! Now, there are some people who
have health issues that keep them from getting the
sleep they need. If you are one of these people, a
doctor's visit might be a good idea.
We all need to practice good sleep habits. Sleeping
seven to nine hours each night, going to bed and
getting up at the same time each day, avoiding
caffine or alcohol close to bedtime, exercising
regularly and making your bedroom a comfortable
haven to sleep in will help you get the amount of
sleep you need.
With that being said....I need to get our room in
shape! Seems like when we move, our room is the
last one to get in shape, it probably should be the