The Importance of Sleep

Sleep: it is quintessential to our lives. Every human being has the major basic functions in common. One of these vital necessities is the need to sleep. Though we all have different sleep patterns, sleep different amounts, and the quality of our slumber varies greatly, sleep is literally necessary to stay alive. Strangely, though it is just as important as breathing, many people live with agonizing and life altering sleep disorders. The importance of sleep is often overlooked.

There are many reasons our bodies need sleep. Sleep is our bodies’ way of rejuvenating. It is the period in which we lower the energy levels expelled each day, our muscles and soft tissue are repaired and revitalized, and our mind is able to process memories and things we have learned for the day. Although one day of sleep deprivation is not fatal, it will indeed cause alterations in mood, physical well being, and overall cognitive function. Increased periods of time without sleep with further these negative changes into hallucinations, poor mental clarity, and often provoked disease, or even death. Studies show that the majority of fatal car crashes are directly correlative to lack of sleep.

In order to evaluate and truly respect the importance of sleep, it is relevant to consider the symptoms that occur with the absence of proper sleep. First of all, the average duration of sleep should be around eight hours. Studies have shown that certain individuals are able to function with less sleep, with as little as six hours; however others are unable to function unless they have reached as many as ten hours of rest. Contrary to the common tendency of many to try to “sneak in extra Z’s” by hitting the snooze button over and over, this habit usually hinders the body’s collective sleep and reduces the time spent in REM (rapid eye movement).

A lack of sleep will quickly cause irritability, grogginess, the inability to make decisions or follow through with cognitive functions. It will cause hallucinations, dozing off during activities and even throughout the day, etc. A continued lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, anxiety, depression, lethargy and fatigue. A chronic, or pathological, sleep disorder will often result in an immune system deficiency. Severe sleep deprivation can ultimately lead to death. These inevitabilities clearly show the importance of sleep.

Often times, diseases in themselves will contribute to poor sleep. Many illnesses, serious pain, overactive thoughts or anxiety, a large upset in life such as a trauma or severe stress can all contribute to a poorer quality of sleep. Temporary sleeping troubles will usually subside if they are an immediate result of stress, however they can just as quickly slip into a serious condition. Treating sleep difficulty is imperative.

There are some simple tips to follow on your own if you are seeking a healthier sleep pattern. Eliminate caffeine in the afternoon and evening. The consumption of caffeine within a few hours before bed will directly inhibit your ability to fall asleep. Exercise, heavy meals, or drugs/alcohol will also diminish the quality of sleep if occurring shortly before hitting the hay. Instead, exercising earlier in the day will aid in ascertaining a healthy sleep regimen. Certain medications will increase adrenaline (such as decongestants) and disable the body from relaxing properly. Anxiety and an overactive mind will cause difficulty in allowing the mind and body to rest so practice deep breathing, meditation or prayer, focused intent on healthy sleeping etc. This usually gets the body ready for sleep and initiates a mental and physical relaxation. Establish a routine. This will help balance the body’s internal clock and ultimately inadvertently initiate the readiness and acceptance of sleep. Make sure your bed is comfortable and your environment is appropriate. Studies acknowledge that noise, light, even a partner with sleeping troubles will easily influence the quality of sleep. Be aware of your nightly surroundings and make sure they are not interfering in achieving a healthy sleep pattern. There are many alternatives to try before depending on sleeping pills. In fact, many sleeping pills have adverse side effects, including trouble sleeping!

Ultimately, there are many downfalls experienced when sleep is not prevalent. Life takes a grave turn for the worst quickly when it is unable to rejuvenate properly. In just a matter of days, the quality of life is altered when sleep is deprived. It is utterly an essential part of life, and there are many ways to try to achieve it; further more to enhance the state of rest you are entering. Proper sleep will absolutely boost your health, your mood, and the quality of your life. Face it, sleep it not a luxury; it is a necessity to staying alive.