Monday, 17 June 2013

Short-Changed on Sleep

Cheating Ourselves of Sleep makes for good reading in today's NYT.  It covers a lot of the stuff I've been talking about recently with regard to sleep. 
  • Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.

    According to sleep specialists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, among others, a number of bodily systems are negatively affected by inadequate sleep: the heart, lungs and kidneys; appetite, metabolism and weight control; immune function and disease resistance; sensitivity to pain; reaction time; mood; and brain function.

    Poor sleep is also a risk factor for depression and substance abuse, especially among people with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Anne Germain, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. People with PTSD tend to relive their trauma when they try to sleep, which keeps their brains in a heightened state of alertness.
 Improving my sleep quality seems to have resolved my hypertension issue and to have leaned me out a bit.  The article above suggests myriad other benefits - all from doing 'nothing'!  What's not to like?

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