With how busy our lives have become sleeping throughout the day and being sleep deprived
has been normalized. We need 7-8 hours of sleep every night and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that as many as 80 million Americans aren’t getting enough.
Food and sleep are two very important part of our lives that many people take for granted. It’s not uncommon for animals to actually die of sleep deprivation before starvation. However, in Japan there are diners open up 24 hrs a day where taking a nap has become common.
All organisms rest, although the amount varies studies have shown that everything takes a break within 24 hours. Sleep is about preserving life more than anything, “organisms that do not have a brain and do not learn still show signs of resting.” Many animals compete for survival every day, humans compete for status too which means we use a lot of energy and we need to rejuvenate every day. It’s amazing how people function on an average of 4 or 5 hours a night, it’s not sustainable and it’s how individuals contract illnesses so easily.
Sleeping is how we store long term memories and learn. It’s essential for maintaining the immune system, body temperature, blood pressure, healing from injury, regulating mood, and regulating emotions; in addition it can aid in the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer's.
Sleeping less than six hours increases risk for depression, psychosis and stroke. Sleep has also been related to obesity, with less sleep the body produces more of the hunger hormone Ghrelin which causes individuals to eat more.
About a third of Americans will suffer from at least one sleep disorder. Sleeping intermittently and taking drugs don’t solve any of these problems.
Here are some quick tips to get a better nights sleep:
Get into a rhythm. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, try to choose a bed time where you naturally feel sleepy and then you should be able to wake up without an alarm.
Limit naps! If you do choose to nap, avoiding doing so late in the day and limit them to 30 min.
Be smart about your meals. Avoid big meals at later at night and avoid caffeine and limit your liquids late at night so your bladder isn’t waking you up!