How Important Is Sleep?
How Important Is Sleep? More than you would think.
Those who say they’ll “sleep when they’re dead” may be doing that before the rest of us.
Studies have shown that sleep affects our physical and mental health, and also our immune system. When we fail to consistently get enough sleep, our bodies are simply unable to function properly. Our concentration, memory, and even our motor skills such as driving may be affected. If sleep deprivation continues for a prolonged time, we may experience hallucinations and mood swings. And while it is true that each person needs a different amount of sleep on a daily basis, in general, most healthy adults need an average of 8 hours per night. Read more about the importance of sleep and how it affects muscle growth. Sleep, just like diet or exercise, is something you have to plan for.
To create an environment where you can get enough sleep, researchers offer these techniques:
- Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule, even on weekends
- Don’t drink or eat caffeine four to six hours before bed and minimize daytime use
- Don’t smoke, especially near bedtime or if you awake in the night
- Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before sleep
- Don’t work on the computer immediately before sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Minimize noise, light and excessive hot and cold temperatures where you sleep
- Try and wake up without an alarm clock
- Attempt to go to bed earlier every night for several days; this will ensure that you’re getting enough sleep
What should you do now? Start today and slowly incorporate these suggestions into your lifestyle. Choose a time to go to bed and when to wake. Do whatever you need to do ahead of time so you are in bed at this time. Examples could be setting your clothes out the night before, packing your lunch ahead of time, and getting your work or school bag together before going to bed.