THE MIRACLE OF SLEEP
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR YOU TO GET TO SLEEP?
A lady once reported that her husband observes her going to sleep. He said she should be in the Guinness Book of World Records. Whenever he tells her goodnight, he says she only hears the word ‘good’….He cannot believe how quickly she goes to sleep.
From research and studies, it appears that no one really knows why we sleep. There are theories but it is still a mystery . I call sleep a ‘miracle’. Sleep is like our body gets recharged approximately every 16-18 hours as it begins to run low on energy.
If sleepless nights and low-functioning days are part of your existence, you may want to read on!
In their article,” The Secrets of Sleep”, National Geographic reported that the average person spends one-third of their lives asleep. “We have known for 50 years that we divide our slumber between periods of deep-wave sleep and what is called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when the brain is as active as when we’re awake, but our voluntary muscles are paralyzed.” 2
We have learned a lot about sleep; types of sleep, ways to encourage sleep, the bodies need for sleep, sleep disorders, but how sleep recharges the body is still unknown.
According to www.myhealthnewsdaily.com: in their article, “ Dreaming May Relieve a Bad Day”, they reported that during REM dream sleep, the researchers saw reduced levels of stress chemicals in the brain, which could be helping to soothe emotional reactions to the previous day’s experiences.
Without adequate REM sleep, the body is unable to function as needed. If we do not alleviate the stress from the former day, the stress compounds and carries over into the next day and the next. It has been suggested the average adult needs 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per day.
Adapted from the book “Living in Balance” by Joel and Michelle Levey: “National estimates are that 25 percent of the population has difficulty sleeping, and that as many as 80 percent of the population are sleep deprived. Being sleep deprived also means that we’re deficient in REM or dreamtime cycles, an important source of inner balancing and guidance. Twenty percent of doctor visits are related to exhaustion, and more than half of the burnout cases that find their way to a doctor’s office are people suffering from sleep deprivation. And the vast majority of people who suffer from sleep deprivation are not even aware of it!”3 Lack of adequate sleep causes many other issues that are often not directly attributed to sleep difficulties.
STATISTICS ON MONEY SPENT ON SLEEP AIDS/
Some sources report that indirect and direct costs of sleep difficulties to our nation may run as high as $14 billion per year. Factoring in other indirect costs it is estimated nearly $35 billion. Sources that include special bedding, pillows, mattresses,sound machines, room fragrances, body care products, mood music and other sleep aids indicate an even much higher figure.
Insomnia.net reports: “Money spent in the sleep industry annually is well over $20 billion according to some reports. In recent years the emotion driving the market is the equally disturbing studies that consistently relate billions of dollars lost in industry as a result of exhausted and stressed out American workers. “
Causes of sleep difficulties are attributed to stress, anxiety, depression, disease, pain, medications (warning to individuals who drink alcohol, the two drugs taken together intensify the action of both), actual sleep disorders or poor sleep habits such as not having a regular sleep routine. The temperature of your bedroom, the lighting, sleeping with the TV on, and other poor health habits may cause sleep difficulties.
Remember that caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, nicotine or spicy foods also may have a part in sleep disturbance?
WHY IS GOOD SLEEP SO IMPORTANT?
Your quality of life and your safety can be severely impacted as well as your job productivity.
• “People with insomnia are four times as likely to suffer from depression than people who sleep well.
• Lack of sleep due to insomnia may contribute to illness, including heart disease.
• Safety on the job, at home, and on the road may be affected by sleepiness.
• People with insomnia may miss more time from work or receive fewer promotions.
• After a poor night’s sleep, many people report accomplishing fewer daily tasks and enjoying activities less.” 3
From Franklin Institute: “Any amount of sleep deprivation will diminish mental performance, cautions Mark Mahowald, a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “One complete night of sleep deprivation is as impairing in simulated driving tests as a legally intoxicating blood-alcohol level.”
There a many ideas to help you to relax and develop strategies to help with sleep difficulties.
Identify your stressors and determine ways to decrease stress in your life
Eat healthy meals in early evening and most importantly do not snack after dinner.
Do not nap during the day. If you do power nap, limit your nap to 15-30 minutes.
Choose a regular sleep routine and be consistent
Low lighting, warm baths and mood music may set the scene for a good nights sleep
An hour before bedtime, gear down to calming activities
Avoid any caffeine after 3:00 p.m.
From the American Association of Christian Counselors, in the article “Research Update: Does Sleep Really Matter,” by Laura Captari, the National Sleep Foundation offers some very helpful interventions for battling sleep deprivation. It’s amazing how, sometimes, getting regular and adequate sleep can improve mood, focus, energy, and even spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, journaling, and reading God’s Word.
When sleep difficulties continue, seek professional help. Your doctor can help determine how to treat your problem.
1 National Sleep Foundation, Arlington Virginia
2 National Geographic Magazine
3 Living in Balance, Joel and Michelle Levey
5 Franklin Institute