Thursday, October 11, 2012

Importance Of Sleeping

There's so much to do, watch, see and read and not enough time in the day right?

You may have heard about how important sleep is right? Every now and again, I struggle to fall asleep so sleeping tips are really useful.

Rapid eye movement, commonly abbreviated to REM, is deepest during the first four hours of sleep. REM and dreaming are very important because it assists in developing memory consolidation. A person sleeping for 8 hours has more REM than one who sleeps for only 5 hours.

However, we can 'survive' on 90 minutes sleep because that is one full sleep cycle. If you can sleep for up to eight hours each night then you can get the benefits of five sleeping cycles.

There are three main categories of insomnia.

1. Transient insomnia- ranges from a few days to a few weeks. Triggered by environmental factors such as noise and temperature
2. Acute insomnia- ranges to a few weeks and can be triggered by anxiety, worries and stress
3. Chronic insomnia-lasting a few years and is dangerous because it impacts on health, safety and quality of life

According to the Women's Health magazine study on sleep, 25% of us sleep for only six hours or less each night. In 2009, one of their surveys found that 44% of Australians had insomnia in the six months period leading up to the survey.

There have been plenty of studies done on sleeping patterns and its effect on us and on lab animals. The University of Chicago conducted a study that involved keeping rats awake. It took two weeks for all of them to die. (Why are we still being cruel to animals for something like this?!).

There was a 17 year old boy in the US who stayed awake for just over 18 days and by then he was suffering a range of symptoms such as "hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech, memory and concentration lapses."#

Other health issues resulting from poor sleep or lack of sleep are diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, inflammation issues (arthritis and bowel disesaes), anxiety, obesity, mental illnesses and depression.

If you're having difficulties getting to sleep, there are some useful techniques that can be utilised:

* Wake up at the same time in the morning so that your body will be eager to tell you to go to bed at night
* If you're having trouble falling asleep, don't lie in bed, get up and read or do something that doesn't involve watching TV and you will get sleepy again
* Try not to use sleeping pills because they reduce your confidence in your natural ability to fall asleep
* Sleep when you're tired and don't wait until you're finished doing whatever it is you wanted to do
* No TV, mobile phones or computers at least for one hour before bedtime, they both expose our brains to 'blue light' which suppresses the release of melatonin, the hormone which tells our body when to sleep
* You would rather be a little cool than too hot
* Don't worry yourself over not being able to sleep. The US National Sleep Foundation's study concluded that, "poor sleepers will often think they've been awake when in fact they've been asleep"
* If you're a worrywort, then write down all the list of things you have to do and the worries that are plaguing you before you go to bed and then it may cut down the time you spend in bed thinking about those issues

Bonne nuit...

#Womens Health, August 2010

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