What"s Sleep Got To Do With It??

HealthGal Health Guide

    Do you know what lack of sleep can do to a person?  Well, according to the latest research it can mess with your metabolism and with hormones that regulate weight and specifically weight gain.  Sleep deprivation can mimic the impact of alcohol on your driving skills.  Certainly focus, concentration and work productivity can be compromised due to lack of sleep.  So why are we actually impressed when someone claims to be able to manage on little sleep - why is that somehow a badge of honor or the representation of some superior being?  Are we kidding ourselves?? Sleep is precious....vital to the optimal workings of our brains and bodies.  So why is it the last thing on our serious and daily "to do list?"

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    We have become relentlessly involved in multi-tasking to the point that our very beings are caught up in a frenzied state of "how productive can I be today?"  Moms are sometimes juggling careers, children, their husband's needs and a home life that can turn into a profession itself.  Dads are expected to be breadwinners and weekend coaches and fabulously sensitive spouses and actually find time to relax and fall asleep.  Researchers say it's no wonder if you finally find yourself in a sitting position in a car or plane - and you're out "like a light" in 10 minutes or less.


    On the other end of the spectrum are the people who can't fall asleep or stay asleep.  They are suffering in a different way but the net result is the same - sleep deficit that can truly impact your health - quality of life - productivity.  I think the idea of a mid-day or afternoon 15 minute snooze is a great idea and companies across the nation are creating sleep zones for their office staff.  I also think we need to really set up our lives so that a sleep niche of at minimum 7 ½ to 8 hours of sleep is the target.  That means starting to slow things down and beginning a sleep prep about 45 to 60 minutes BEFORE you get into bed.  It also means not bringing your work to bed or for that matter TV watching.  Dim lights and soft music and a gentle candle scent is more in order with the goal of beginning to feel relaxed and sleep ready.  I admit I don't always practice what I preach and I also know that I feel the negative side effects.  It's probably why I try to never sit down between 3 and 5 in the afternoon; I'd be out cold in a flash most of the time (and my blog posts would go by the wayside!!).


    So the take away message is that we truly need to realize that when doctors are assessing our important numbers which now include: BMI, waist measurement, blood pressure, pulse, cholesterol levels, fasting blood sugar, number of minutes we exercise daily - we should also be asked, "how many hours on average do you sleep a night??"  If the answer is less than optimal, then it's another important health issue you should be talking about.


    How's your sleep going?? Getting enough?? Seriously deprived?? Any great tips??




Published On: June 18, 2008