For many of my readers....sleep is a precious commodity and sometimes just a fleeting thought. On average I get about 5 hours of sleep a night...not a lot, probably not enough. So who needs sleep anyway? Do we really NEED sleep anyway? So we are SUPPOSED to get about 8 hours of sleep every night....do you relize that's like 1/3 of your (my) day? Do you know how much I can/should be accomplishing in that time? But all joking aside, when people get less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night, their risk for developing diseases begins to increase. Sleep is more than just rest; it is an essential time for your body to perform routine maintenance and repair damage from your day. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night assures that your body and mind will function well the next day. Here are some myths about sleep:
1. Losing an Hour of Sleep is No Big Deal! FALSE! If you get less sleep than you need, your ability to do certain cognitive and physical tasks is decreased. If that sleep loss builds over time, it can interfere with the hormones that monitor appetite, changing your mood and increasing your risk of some chronic illnesses.
2. You Adjust to Sleep Changes Easily. FALSE! Your body gets on schedule based on your activity and exposure to daylight. When you travel across many time zones or work night shifts, you confuse body's sense of time, making sleep difficult and inhibiting some necessary sleep functions. For every one- to two-hour time change, it takes your body 1 day to adjust. That means it could take your body 6 to 12 days to adjust to a trip from New York to China.
3. Older People Need Less Sleep. FALSE! Older people need the same amount of sleep as everyone else, 7 to 9 hours per night.
4. You Can 'Catch Up' During the Weekend. FALSE! Hmmm..too bad! Many people sleep late on Saturdays and Sundays hoping to compensate for sleep lost during the week. While sleeping late helps catch up on your sleep debt, it also in fact, alters your sleep schedule. Sleeping late one or two days and then wakeing up early again on Monday. Your body must adjust to these changes. During this adjustment, your quality of sleep is poor.
5. Naps are Wasteful. FALSE! Oh...gotta love a good nap! When I was young my mom couldn't get me to take a nap...I think I was like under a year old when I stopped napping...wow have times changed....I think nap has got to be my favorite word! Naps can be a great way to catch up on lost sleep. After taking naps, people function better and do certain cognitive tasks quicker. Napping can also help you train yourself to fall asleep quicker.
So now..go on...take a nap...don't feel guilty...it will make you more productive!