At the outset, it is best to understand why sleep is so important to us, especially in today’s day and age. Our general health has degenerated in recent times; that’s a fact no one can detract. Now, there are several reasons why our health has taken a tumble. We are moving away from nature and our own natural body patterns each day that we live. Our food has become synthetic for its most part, the clothes that we wear and most of the things that we use are not natural at all, even our civilization itself is completely away from the rule book of nature.
It is for this reason that we are facing so many health perils today. And, one of the most profound elements that is sordidly missing from our lifestyle is a healthy sleep pattern.
In this article, we shall see why sleep is important. Why is it important for us to devote at least 7 to 9 hours of our day to sleep? How does sleeplessness or sleep deprivation affect our lives? These are important questions to answer before we move along with things.
So, What’s Good about Sleep?
Finding time to sleep in our busy schedules is extremely important for our health and wellbeing. Most people push the boundaries when it comes to sleep. We restrict the time we allow for sleep, going to bed progressively later as we try to fit in the many different jobs that need completion each day. We underestimate the importance of sleep. Without adequate sleep our bodies will react, and those important schedules we put off sleep to achieve, will be affected eventually.
It’s only recently that we have begun to fully understand just how much our body needs sleep to function properly. Most of the body’s normal activities rely on us having a regular sleep and an interrupted sleep pattern is a significant stress on our bodies.
Our nervous system, our digestive system and the ability of our body to repair itself are all dependent on our sleep cycles being consistent and regular. When we deprive our body of sleep, we inhibit our brains ability to make decision, our emotional responses to situations may be compromised, and even how we interact socially may be affected.
Sleep is as necessary for our health as eating and drinking is. It has long been recognized that sleep deprivation is an effective torture tool, and experiments using rats have revealed that they their live expectancy is significantly reduced when they are sleep deprived under experimental conditions.
How much sleep do we need?
How much sleep a person needs is dependent on factors such as age and gender. Pregnant women for example, may require more sleep than a non-pregnant woman of the same age group and a child may require more sleep than an adult, however an older adult generally requires less sleep than a younger adult.
The amount of sleep an individual needs is fairly consistent with their age group. A typical adult will require approximately 7-9 hours of sleep a night to maintain optimum health and performance. If we reduce that amount of sleep time over a series of nights, our body will eventually react and we need to make up that time, usually in what is termed as a “sleep in”.
However, even though we know we will sleep in on the weekend, our performance during the working week may be severely affected by our lack of sleep. If we find ourselves excessively yawning during the day, or finding it difficult to remember simple details or make simple judgment calls correctly, it is possible we are suffering from sleep deprivation.
People take micro sleeps where they lose consciousness for very short periods of time without realizing it, leading to potentially dangerous situations. Many road deaths and incidents at work have been directly traced to insufficient sleep the night before. With so many serious side effects and consequences of not sleeping, we should all be ensuring we schedule adequate sleep into our daily lives.