Sleeping too little? Working too much?

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • Hey! You're doing a great job! You're the first one to work every morning, one of the last to leave every night. And, you even take a briefcase full of work home with you. It sometimes keeps you busy until the wee hours of the morning.


    You're a loyal employee, a workaholic, a busy beaver. And you're also probably sleep deprived.


    According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) at least 63% of Americans do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. They get less sleep than they did five years ago because they are putting in more and more hours at work.

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    And now, according to research by psychologists at the University of Alabama, all that work when you're already sleep deprived may be harming your health. The study states that when fatigued people are given a task they consider doable and worthwhile, they will increase their effort to make up for the fatigue. This extra effort causes rises in blood pressure and this can lead to heart disease.


    Sleep deprivation is a drain on the brain. If a person isn't getting enough sleep, he or she cannot concentrate, memory is faulty and creativity goes out the window. It's easy to see why work performance suffers despite the long hours devoted to the job.


    But sleep deprivation disrupts all areas of life. There's no time for relaxation or entertainment. There's very little time to devote to family or relationships. Because of sleep deprivation, moods may swing from euphoria to depression. People who lack sleep are irritable or cry easily. They aren't the sweetest people to be with. Even the sex life suffers. Because of erratic hours or sleep disorders, many married couples now have separate beds and even separate bedrooms.


    Our children are not immune to the more work/less sleep attitude. Some schools have changed the first class to early morning. After school, as well as social and extra-curricular activities, many of our young people hold down part or oven full-time jobs, and sleep is sacrificed on the altar of the all-mighty dollar.


    It's time people became more aware of the importance of sleep. A lack of sleep reduces the quality of life, causes mistakes and accidents and, as this new research emphasizes, can even shorten your life.


    It's time we all took a few minutes to contemplate our own lifestyle. Is it suffering because of poor sleep habits? If so, can we do anything to improve things? Shorten the hours you work if possible. Concentrate on quality rather than long hours when your sleepy brain is not functioning up to par.


    No matter how worthwhile a task may seem, don't jeopardize your health in an all out effort to do it when you're already fatigued.


Published On: July 01, 2008