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Feeling Good Naturally! newsletter
August 17, 2012

The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of Sleep

Well, here we are at the end of summer. The days are getting shorter, it's darker in the morning. School is starting and homework is once again a part of life. It is time to settle down and get back to a routine, no more staying up late and letting the kids stay up, too. We may need to be reminded of the importance of getting enough sleep.

Children.

For our children, studies tell us that they need from 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Teenagers need 8 to 10. When they don't get enough sleep, not only are they usually grouchy, but they are unable to concentrate. The possibility is good that they will get drowsy in class, and lack of sleep effects their memory function, thus effecting how well they do on tests.

Poor concentration can also lead to behavior problems. Not getting enough sleep has also been shown to decrease hand-eye coordination, as well as make reaction time slower. You can see how all of these things can possibly lead to problems for our children - therefore, for us. There is way more to think about here than just having unpleasant children.

Us.

And speaking of us, we need good concentration, hand-eye coordination, and fast reaction time - say - driving - and memory retention always in the workplace - and even at home with our families.

So how much sleep do we need? I have found studies on the importance of sleep that say we need 8 - 9 hours or sleep, others that say 6 to 8 hours of sleep. During the last 10 years, studies have concluded that mortality rates were lowest among those who slept between 6.5 and 7.5 hours a night. Interesting.

Maybe the way to know how much sleep we need is to listen to what our bodies tell us.

What We Know About the Importance of Sleep.

We do know that sleep is essential to our lives, just as essential as breathing or eating. The reason it is so important is that our bodies restore themselves while we sleep - we heal, repair and grow while we are sleeping. This goes for everyone - little children, teenagers, athletes, weight lifters, musicians, office workers, the elderly.

We also know that consistently getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis can cause lasting damage, some that can't be reversed. This includes things as serious as:

  • high blood pressure
  • irregular heart beat
  • increased cholesterol levels
  • weakened immune system
  • susceptibility to sickness and disease
  • negative attitude
  • lack of friends

On the other hand, if we develop good sleep habits we have better health as well as the ability to have quality social interactions and personal relationships.

Some signs that should alert us that we are not getting enough sleep might include:

  • Getting sleepy while we drive
  • Dry eyes
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Watery eyes
  • Having memory lapses
  • Feeling irritable or lethargic
  • Having low energy
  • Having an uncontrollable desire to eat
  • Having no appetite
  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Feeling depressed
  • Headaches

If you are noticing any of these symptoms, or if someone is pointing them out to you, it is time to consider the facts. The health benefits and brain benefits are all so vital to a happy life.

We have pages and pages of ideas on how to sleep better, things you can do , natural sleep remedies including herbs and essential oils, massages, baths, etc.

If stress is what is keeping you awake, we have a page on the best ways to relax and also a page on funny short stories if you need a real life laugh.

Visit our website for ideas on healthy school lunches , as well.

So we are wishing you a great end of summer - may it be an enjoyable one. Stay well, keep that immune system strong, get ready for winter, and be happy.

Best wishes, Nancy

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