The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is a natural, recurring state of body and brain, characterized by decreased sleep quality, reduced awareness, decreased emotional response, decreased muscle activity and motor skill development during slow eye movement sleep (REM), and increased interactions with the environment during light sleep (von REM). Most people do not require sleep to survive; most live healthy and fulfilling lives through out the night. There are many different types of sleep disorders, including transient insomnia, intermittent insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and nonrestorative sleep.
The lack of sleep can have serious consequences on the brain and body. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “There is an increasing amount of evidence that suggests that inadequate sleep can be detrimental to your mental and physical health.” Lack of sleep has been linked to higher stress levels, poor judgment and impulse control, poorer memory function, difficulty concentrating, increased blood pressure and heart rate, depression, and fatigue. Many of these same conditions can arise from other medical conditions as well, so if you’re suffering from one or more of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about sleep medications and alternative sleep remedies such as acupressure, biofeedback, and massage therapy.
In general, the human sleep cycle lasts for about four stages: light, sleep, stages two and three, deep sleep, and non-stage sleep. Each stage occurs for a specific length of time during which the brain processes stimuli in much the same way it does during the light cycle. As the brain enters into the sleep stages, it reorganizes its connections and begins the process of falling asleep.
The four stages of sleep cycle are generally categorized into four groups: light, restful, deep, and non-restful. During each of these four stages, the body goes into a specialized state called sleep. When we are in deep sleep, our brains and nerves are in a highly efficient state, while in the light and restful stages respectively. When we wake up, we generally move back to the light cycle but some people may spend several hours in the deep stages before falling back into the non-restful state.
Sleep is important because it helps us do things that are necessary for health and growth. When we are sleeping, the brain receives information from the sensory nerves about the events of the day and begins to prepare itself for the next day. During sleep cycles, the pineal gland releases melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleeping and wake cycles. This is why we tend to feel tired after going to bed or feeling sluggish during the morning. In order to determine whether our bodies are in a sleep cycle or not, we need to go to a doctor for a sleep test.
Although the exact reasons for getting less sleep on a regular basis are unknown, many experts believe that chronic sleep deprivation is the main cause behind a number of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, obesity, depression, and hypertension. It is important to stay active and exercise regularly if you want to live a healthy lifestyle and avoid getting less sleep than you should. Even though you might think that going to work feeling tired and listless is normal, it could be a sign that you are suffering from sleep loss or other sleep disorders.