The complete role sleep plays in our brain function is still a mystery, but scientists do know that when a person is sleep deprived they start to experience slowed speech patterns, flattened emotional responses, impaired memory and an inability to multitask.
I know from my own experience that the first things I notice when I have not had enough sleep are irritability and moodiness. Instead of responding to the environment around me I feel completely at the mercy of my emotions.
For some reason, I find most people want to find a way to be awake more so they can work or get more things done in a day. I personally love to sleep and find that even though I no longer require naps, like I did after my child was born, I do still sleep eight to nine hours a night. Sleep has always been a priority in my life and I appreciate that my husband has been empathetic in understanding this as well.
My husband Nate has a completely different sleep pattern than mine. He tends to go to bed around midnight and wakes at 5 or 6 am. I am often worried for his quality of life and longevity due to this unnatural sleep pattern. There is a lot of research that directly links sleep deficiency to weight gain, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system and safety. How much sleep you require is completely a matter of your personal body, but often times diet and stress will complicate your natural rhythm and lead to a decreased amount of sleep.
The best way to determine your natural sleep pattern is to look back over the times in your life when you were allowed to go to bed when you felt tired and wake up once you felt rested. If you are currently out of sync with your natural pattern it may take some time to re-establish. And, if you have to wake up to go to work or do something else, then these interferences may complicate the process too.
Take a Time Out for Rest and Relaxation
A few more ways to rest your body:
• Closing your eyes and breathing
• Quiet place from noise and electronics
• Yoga rest poses
• Sitting under a tree in nature
• Anything else that allows you to clear your mind, breathe deeply and let go…
If your goal is to live a long and healthy life, sleep may be just as important as eating and perhaps even breathing. You can support your spirit, body and mind by getting plenty of sleep, rest and relaxation. According to scientific research when our bodies are well rested it restores the brain and increases our memory function. In addition, this allows us to experience improved learning ability. These qualities can add to our quality and quantity of our life span and to our overall well-being.
- Jodie Oliver, Sleep Number