Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sleep Deprivation is Bad for our Health

We live in a fast-paced world where we tend to rush and cram more and more every minute of our daily lives. It's like there are so many things to do but there's no enough time to accomplish everything. We sometimes get frantic over hectic schedules and sleeping has become a waste of time. This holds true especially for workaholics who needs to meet lots of deadlines at the work place. They tend to restrain themselves from sleeping. They think they become productive whenever they are able to submit their reports at a certain given time. But Dr. Greg Belenky, Director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University Spokane, said that productivity is reduced when you are depriving yourself of enough sleep. At the same time, you are putting yourself to great health risks.
When sleep is becoming a struggle, there should be more reasons for concern. While the number of hours of sleep may vary from person to person, lack of sleep can affect one's performance of tasks. I can attest to this since there were times in the past where I got really, really hooked in my blogging activities that I stayed up all awake until 2am. I barely have 5 hours of sleep and when I was at work, I felt like I was floating, groggy and so ineffective, unproductive and inefficient. Sleep deprivation can also have longer effects that involves a person's health. It may result to "weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, depression and substance abuse." When you have little sleep, the body's ability to regulate glucose is greatly affected causing inflammation leading to heart problems and a rise in blood pressure.
People suffering from sleep problems enumerated below should immediately see a physician:
  • Insomnia, an inability to go to sleep or stay asleep.
  • Sleep apnea, or breathing interruptions during sleep that cause people to wake up repeatedly.
  • Restless legs syndrome, a tingling or prickly sensation in the legs that causes a person to need to move them, interrupting sleep.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health offers these tips for getting a good night's sleep:

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid exercising closer than five or six hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed.
  • Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
  • Don't take naps after 3 p.m.
  • Relax before bed, taking time to unwind with a hot bath, a good book or soothing music.
  • If you're still awake after more than 20 minutes in bed, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy. Anxiety over not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.
Yahoo Health

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