Give Yourself the Gift of Sleep

Give Yourself the Gift of Sleep

Benefits of sleep. Scientists say sleep boosts the ability to fight illness, sort and store information, remember, and learn. Even though the experts have yet to figure out exactly how sleep contributes such gifts, you can still reap its benefits.

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Loss of several nights of sleep may result in weakened capacities for problem solving and judgment. Continued lack of sleep can lead to increases in emotional fragility and impulsiveness. Sleep even helps avoid chronic issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

If you’re not yet convinced of the powers and possibilities of sleep, read on:

Individual differences affect sleep. Each person has different life rhythms. What are yours — not the habitual, but the healthy, natural ones? There are genetic and situational variations as well, so pay attention to what works well for you over time.

There are also cultural differences. In so-called primitive societies, for example, some people just flop on the ground when they are ready to sleep. No Sleep Number beds, Tempurpedic products, or total quiet seem to be necessary.

Actions to support your sleep. You may benefit from naps. If so, try about a half hour, maybe three times weekly. Longer naps may make you feel a little fuzzy-minded.

Whether during the day or night, aim for seven to eight hours sleep daily, though some people need more and others less. Make sure you have a mattress that’s no more than six or seven years old and provides medium firm support.

Learn about sleep apnea if you suspect that may be an issue. As appropriate, check yourself out here as well as with a knowledgable professional.

Additional sources of information about sleep. If you want to learn more about current research on sleep, these links were provided by the Wall Street Journal:

Books that may put you to sleep are:

  • The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection between Health, Happiness and a Good Night’s Sleep by William Dement
  • Take a Nap! By Sara Mednick

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