March 14–20 is Sleep Awareness Week
! A week-long celebration where the public is reminded about the importance of sleep and well-being. According to a statistic from the National Institutes of Health
, a staggering 50 to 70 million people in the United States have sleep disorders.
Sleep is an essential component of wellness, and few things impact our physical and mental health more than a lack of sleep. Ideally, adults should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night; for many, it's less, and not getting enough sleep diminishes our ability to handle day-to-day stressors. There are studies on the effectiveness of the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. Research published in the Sleep
journal suggested that sleeping less than 6.5 hours or more than 9.5 hours is associated with higher mortality.
One of the common causes of why we sleep less than 8 hours is work and lifestyle habits. Environmental factors play a significant role in one's ability to get proper sleep, and not getting enough shut-eye can effect your day-to-day decision-making. Of course, the occasional bad night's sleep is a nuisance, but a continued lack of sleep can lead to irritability, reduced energy, and concentration problems. It also puts you at risk of serious medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.
What causes sleep deprivation? A constant repeat offender for your lack of sleep is technology. We are chained to our devices, our work, and our private lives have blurred lines since becoming part of the "always-on" culture.
With technology being available 24/7, we can find it difficult to "switch off," especially since many consumers expect a business to offer support 24/7. Inevitably, with life's unrealistic expectations, we are constantly striving to find a happy balance between work and our personal life.
Some folks can survive on minimal sleep due to certain health conditions, and some are unable to get back to sleep as their minds keep racing, trying to find a solution. There are many reasons why a person cannot sleep, but when and how much we sleep as individuals differ for everyone.
So, why do we need sleep? Well, apparently, we spend one-third of our lives doing nothing but sleeping. Your body and your brain need sleep. Switching off your mind, relaxing, and going to sleep is how your body repairs itself; it allows your body and mind to recharge.
- Sleep has a positive effect on overall cognitive performance
- Sleep boosts mental well-being
- Sleep can boost your immune system
- Sleep improves memory
- Sleep increases blood flow and collagen
- Sleep can increase productivity
- Sleep can help with problem-solving skills
- Sleep can increase sex drive
- Poor sleep is linked to weight gain
- Poor sleep affects hormones
- Poor sleep increases the risk of type 2 diabetes
The Stages of Sleep
After an exhausting day, you're ready to climb into bed as you're feeling mentally and physically drained. When your eyes close and your head finally hits the pillow, your body begins going through the four-stages of the sleep cycle,
three phases are non-R.E.M (Non–rapid eye movement), and one is R.E.M. (rapid eye movement). During the sleep cycle, the brain cycles through stages 1 to 4 about 4-5 times.
The non-REM stages are when our body begins to repair and regrow cells and tissues and strengthen the immune system.
Non-R.E.M (Non–rapid eye movement)
- Stage 1: This is when you can wake up fast from a very light sleep. This stage usually lasts about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stage 2: You are still in a light sleep stage but ready to fall into a deep sleep. This stage lasts from about 30 to 60 minutes.
- Stage 3: This stage is when you are in a deep sleep, and it takes you a while to wake up. This stage lasts about 20 to 40 minutes.
R.E.M. (Non–rapid eye movement)
- Stage 4: The deepest sleep and when your brain is most active.
The fourth stage of rapid eye movement (R.E.M.) is where most of your dreams occur, and where your heart beats faster. Stage 4 is where we experience our deepest sleep; when your brain is most active, your eyes flicker, and your body becomes relaxed.
Getting enough sleep is essential for your mind and body, but remember, the quality of sleep is just as important.
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* FDA Disclaimer
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Please consult your health care professional before using any product.