Sleep. It’s priceless. Okay, for me anyway. The older I get, the more I like sleep, the more I crave sleep, and the more I feel sleep deprivation (which is really anything less than 6 hours of sleep). I guess I’m just not as young as I used to be.
Then again, we really do need sleep.
Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep
Brain health: when we are sleeping our brain regenerates and is preparing for the next day. This regeneration helps you with focus, learning and retaining new information, and with problem solving skills.
Physical healthy: the body heals, repairs, and rejuvenates when we sleep. Enough sleeps allows our body to produce the right amount of hormones to make us hungry and full when appropriate, which reduces the risk for obesity, and the right amount of sleep allows for proper growth and development.
Performance and safety: when we get enough sleep we are more alert, aware, and able to focus on what we are doing much better because we are functioning at full capacity. Our productivity and energy are increased throughout the day, and our reaction times are much faster. This helps increase our performance and safety in all tasks we work on.
Sleep Deprivation Issues
Brain health: because the brain can’t regenerate, an individual will have challenges making decisions and getting along with others. He or she may also experience mood swings, severe irritability, and the inability to to pay attention.
Physical health: sleep deprivation has been linked to increased serious health issues, such as kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Stunted growth, immune deficiencies, and obesity have also been linked to sleep deficiencies.
Performance and safety: when we haven’t had enough sleep our bodies can tell, even if we are only deprived of one or two hours of sleep a night. We are much more susceptible to having slow reaction times and having the inability to focus fully on anything, which decreases our performance and increases serious safety risks. Many people experience microsleep when they are sleep deprived, but many people don’t even realize it. Microsleep is when we have brief moments of sleep when we’re awake, or when we’re supposed to be awake. For example, have you ever sat in a lecture or business meeting and somehow missed part of what the speaker was saying, but you know you were paying attention? This is microsleep and you didn’t even know it. This is a serious safety hazard because this can also happen when we’re driving or operating heavy machinery.
Adults need an average of seven to eight hours of continuous sleep for our bodies to be at maximum performance. Naps are great, but the best way to get the sleep we need is at night. To top it off, we can’t catch up on our sleep (trust me, I’ve certainly tried!!). This is why it’s so important to get a full nights sleep every night, along with eating right and getting the proper amount of exercise.