Good Night’s Sleep

Why do you need a good night’s sleep? Many adults suffer from a lack of sleep or from a lack of good quality sleep. If you wake up in the morning and are fighting to keep your eyes open on the way to work or feel more tired than you did before you went to sleep, then you are probably not getting enough sleep or enough good sleep.

Have you ever noticed that your colds and extended periods of poor/lack of sleep coincide? Sleep deprivation can negatively impact the immune system. When one is sleep deprived, the white cell count decreases, causing the body to be more susceptible to illness.

Are you struggling to focus while you are at work? A cup of coffee to wake you up is not the answer. Sleep deprivation significantly reduces the brains metabolism. In fact study subjects who, when sleep deprived, were asked to complete math problems, performed slower and with less accuracy than they would after adequate sleep.  Even if you do not need
to complete math problems on the job, your ability to focus as well as your speed at completing tasks is reduced when you get less than 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Cranky and short tempered after a bad nigh of sleep? A study at the University of Pennsylvania limited subjects to 4.5 hours for sleep per night for one week. These subjects reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When their sleep was returned to a normal 8 hour routine, these effects disappeared.

Sleep affects mood just as much as mood affects sleep. High levels of stress and anxiety cause the body to feel agitated, awake and alert so when you eventually fall asleep, your mind is not fully resting. You may have gotten 8 hours, but you did not get quality sleep.

Your ability to operate machinery including driving a car, is impaired when you lack sleep.

According to the NHSA, falling asleep while driving is responsible for at least 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths each year in the United States. Even if you are not falling asleep while driving, your reflexes and ability to process and react to stimuli is greatly reduced.

Risk factors for drowsy driving crashes:

  1. Late night/early morning driving
  2. Patients with untreated excessive sleepiness
  3. People who obtain six or fewer hours of sleep per day
  4. Young adult males
  5. Commercial truck drivers
  6. Night shift workers
  7. Medical residents after their shift

Getting enough sleep is vital to many aspects of your life.

By: Erica Gomer

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