Thursday, October 21

Getting Enough Sleep is Worth it!

Many of you who know me well know I take my sleep seriously! After struggling with insomnia for over 10 years due to health complications, I'm finally able to sleep and I take advantage of that fact at every chance I get! I'm extremely blessed to be able to work from home on my own schedule because most of the time this allows me to sleep when I need to and for as long as I need to (I average 10 - 12 hours at a time!); this in turn helps me cope much better with the symptoms of AS & fibro that I experience on a daily basis. I know many of you don't have the luxury of being able to sleep as much as you would like - or even WHEN you would like - and I feel for you! I know how much better I feel when I can get a good night sleep (or in my case, a good day sleep!). I'm sure you've heard how important getting enough sleep is to your health but I wanted to share that importance with you again because I think it's especially important as we move into the busy holiday season. Please don't sell yourself short by skipping out on sleep! Not only will this impact your physical health, it can also be detrimental to your emotional health, your relationships, your work, and your overall happiness. If you're having problems sleeping, trust me, I've been there! There were a number of reasons that I experienced insomnia for so long and it took a long time to get each of those reasons figured out and dealt with, but I'm telling you, it was worth the continued fight and frustrating because the pay off of being able to sleep (and sleep well) is worth it's weight in gold! If you're having problems sleeping more often than not, I urge you to talk to your health care providers! It may take a while for them to figure out what's keeping you from dreamland, but stick with it and be an advocate for your own health! If you don't, nobody else will and please know that your physical and emotional well being is worth fighting for!

Sassy all tried out after last Halloween!

What Exactly is Sleep?

Physiologically speaking, sleep is the daily restful state all humans need to assume on a daily basis in order to replenish and live another day. It is a reduced state of motor activity in which consciousness of the surrounding world is suspended due to the diminished sensory stimulation response that occurs when a person lies down and closes their eyes.

Science has now revealed that sleep is fact a dynamic process in which the brain continues to work while we sleep. Some of these activities include:
  • The production and release of certain proteins essential to growth (especially in children) and tissue repair.
  • Replenishment to areas of the brain responsible for emotional and social functioning throughout the day.
  • Helping the mind learn complicated tasks by retrieving knowledge potentially forgotten throughout the day.
  • The preservation of emotional memories, whose components become unbound throughout the sleep process.

Brain Activity in Sleep

Brain activity plays an important role in the sleep cycle. It directs the chemicals responsible for nerve signaling (neurotransmitters) to act on nerve cells in different areas of the brain whether the person is asleep or not. These nerve cells (brain cells otherwise known as neurons) control sleep by inhibiting the other parts of the brain that keep an individual awake.

Princess & Drew catching a nap on the couch :)

5 Good Reasons to Get Enough Sleep

Memory and learning – the sleep cycle helps the brain in committing new information to memory via the process of memory consolidation. Scientific studies have also linked higher test results to students that had slept after learning the particular task being tested.

Weight and metabolism – a disturbed sleep cycle and chronic states of insomnia have been linked to a disturbance in metabolism and consequent weight gain. This can be attributed to its affect on appetite-controlling hormones and the ways in which carbohydrate is stored and processed.

Safety – daytime errors and mishaps such as falls, medical errors, air traffic mishaps and road accidents can statistically be linked to disturbed sleeping patterns prior to the event taking place.

Mood – a disturbed sleep cycle can cause an imbalanced amount of hormones and neurotransmitters, causing irritability, impatience, moodiness and concentration difficulty.Cardiovascular Health – Science has linked disrupted sleep and sleep disorders to conditions harmful to cardiovascular health, including irregular heartbeats and hypertension.

Disease – A lack of sleep directly affects the activity of the body’s killer cells and therefore depletes the body’s immune system. Recent studies have also shown good quality sleep patterns may play a part in the fight against cancer.

How Much Sleep is Enough?

Adults: 7-8 hours per night (although some adults may function better with 5-10 hours of sleep a night)

Teenagers: 9 hours per night

Infants: 16 hours throughout the course of the day and night.

Pregnant women: need increased amounts of sleep, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Noel using me as a pillow!


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