Who Needs Sleep?

Many people act as if sleep is overrated, it’s not. It is underappreciated. Everyone needs sleep, but we are not getting enough and one of the biggest culprits is media, entertainment, and technology. I’m going to list some problems then consider some solutions and helpful hints in a follow up post.

PROBLEMS

1. We are staying up too late at night fixated upon entertainment or social media. This is cutting into our needed time for better sleep.

2. Much of the way our brain interacts with entertainment results in overstimulation late at night when our minds should be winding down instead of throttling up.

3. The physical effect of blue light from screens at night that trigger a process that keeps us alert when we need to be getting drowsy.

Let’s consider some of the effects in your life when you don’t get enough sleep.

WHEN YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Everyone needs sleep, especially REM sleep which stands for Rapid Eye Movement. Dr. Susan Biali Haas writes,

“REM sleep is a stage of sleep that is critical for restoration of your creative and problem-solving skills. If you don’t get enough of it, it can leave you feeling groggy and having difficulty concentrating the next day.”

Most of you probably have firsthand experience of feeling groggy during the day and struggling to concentrate, I certainly have; unfortunately, we continue our bad habits that are causing the problems.

The Environmental Health Trust gives some other insight into the subject,

“Sleep is a time when the brain cleans out toxins accumulated during the daytime. Ensuring a healthy sleep is one of the most powerful steps we can take to prevent illness and protect our family’s health and wellbeing.”

A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared that insufficient sleep is a public health problem? According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, research suggests that sleep plays an important role in memory, both before and after learning a new task.

“It is more difficult to take in new information following a night of inadequate or disturbed sleep. What’s more surprising is that it is just as important to get a good night’s sleep after learning something new in order to process and retain the information that has been learned.”

If you regularly get a good night’s sleep, it positively impacts your mind, your body, and the various systems in your body including your immune system. But how much do you need to sleep each day to get these benefits? According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommendation for teens is 8-10 hours every night.

Are you getting at least eight hours of sleep consistently? Check out my follow up post for some helpful hints for getting a good night’s sleep.