With all the things we want to do (and need to do) with our days, sometimes sleep gets shorted. I’m not talking about a household with a new baby — I’m talking about a household like my own where I’m balancing commitments related to work, family, friends, pets, household maintenance, exercise, etc. So many of us sometimes skip on sleep, but the more I read, the more that seems like a really bad idea.
If you have regular problems with insomnia, you might look into sleep hygiene techniques; you might also want to see a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders.
But some of us who don’t have babies, don’t have insomnia, and don’t have other reasons why we can’t dedicate enough time to sleep, we simply don’t make sleep a priority. The following information is encouraging me to make sure I do get enough sleep.
“While the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins, a process that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, researchers say.”
The Guardian reports that some scientists are skeptical of the study, but it certainly is intriguing, if in no way conclusive.
“We get more REM sleep in the last half of the night. Which means that if you are woken unexpectedly, your brain may not have dealt with all your emotions — which could leave you stressed and anxious.”
On the Personal Health blog of The New York Times website, there’s an article by Jane E. Brody that begins:
Think you do just fine on five or six hours of shut-eye? Chances are, you are among the many millions who unwittingly shortchange themselves on sleep.
Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.
Sleep is ingrained in our cultural ethos as something that can be put off, dosed with coffee, or ignored. And yet maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is now thought of as one of the best forms of preventative medicine.
But for now, I’m smiling as I read about Lucy Kellaway’s movement, called YAWNS, which I found on the Financial Times via Metafilter. YAWNs is an acronym for Yes A Wonderful Night’s Sleep, and it advocates “no more boasting about being awake. Anyone admitting in public to getting up at 4 a.m. would have to prove they went to sleep at 8 p.m. and were still getting eight hours.”
Editor’s note: For tips on how to get the sleep your body needs and organize your time and space to make it possible, check out “Want to be more productive? Get more sleep.” Also, consider keeping a sleep journal to track how much sleep you get each night and how you feel the next day. Each person has different sleep requirements, and these requirements can change as you age.