Pile on the Zz’s! – Sleep

Have you ever met cranky pRoy?  Maybe you woke her up in the morning when she wasn’t ready to get up or maybe you kept her out late at night, depriving her of her good seven-eight hours of sleep.  Yea, yea, don’t give me that BS of “sleep is the cousin of death” I don’t want to hear it.  Sleep is the gateway to a healthy life and longevity.  If you are depriving yourself of sleep, chances are you are taking seconds, minutes, hours… even years off your life.

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It’s important.  While you are sleeping, your body is healing and recuperating from a long day.  Your brain doesn’t simply shut off and go “night night” with the dimming of your eyelids.  During sleepy time, your brain is sending off important signals in your body to recover.  Muscle is being made and repaired.  Your immune system is building up and getting ready to ward off the next virus that tries to attack you.  In essence, your body is getting to go through another 16 hour day without succumbing to instant detonation (or your collapsing because you’re too tired to go on).

8 hours.  Sounds like a lot of time, eh?  Well, out of 24 hours in a day, one-third of them should be devoted to sleepy time.  Skimping out by even one hour can cause you to have slow reflexes, feel sluggish throughout the day, need a nap after a heavy meal, or have a hard time getting up in the morning.  How do I know I have had enough sleep?  I wake up on my own; no alarm clock necessary.  Once your body is used to getting enough sleep, you will naturally awaken at the same time everyday.  Don’t believe me? Try it.  I dare you.

Beware: You can over sleep.  I know for me, laying around in the bed on an off-day trying to sleep my life away leaves me with a little less than half of a day to get things done and a queezy tummy.  I actually feel more tired lounging and catching up on sleep than I do if I just get up and go as I normally would.  Your body could feel this way because…

It’s not about the quantity of sleep, but rather the quality.  Have you ever napped all day just to be just as tired later on that night?  Or maybe you haven’t gotten enough sleep in days, but that one night that you just sleep, and I mean that DEEP sleep and it’s uninterrupted, you feel AMAZING.  That’s because your body was able to go through the full six stages of sleep:

  • Awake. It’s normal to be awake for short periods during the night. Expect three to 10 brief arousals, though you probably won’t remember each one. It’s likely part of your body’s defense mechanisms to keep you aware of what’s going on around you.
  • Stage one. During stage one, you sleep lightly and drift in and out of sleep. During this stage you’re easily wakened. Your muscles begin to slow down and your eyes move very slowly.
  • Stage two. In stage two, your muscles relax. Your brain waves slow down, though occasionally you have bursts of brain activity. You spend about half of your sleep in this stage.
  • Stages three and four. Deep sleep sets in. Your brain waves become large and slow. Your breathing becomes rhythmic, and your muscles remain relaxed. At this point your body begins releasing reparative hormones. Stages one through four are referred to as non-rapid eye movement (NREM).
  • Rapid eye movement (REM). During REM sleep your muscles stop moving completely. Your breathing and heart rate become rapid and irregular, your blood pressure is more variable, and your eyes move rapidly in bursts of activity. Your brain waves show a pattern similar to wakefulness. Scientists believe this indicates that your brain is using this time to sort and organize your memories. Dreaming takes place during this stage. If you’re awakened during REM sleep, you may recall vivid dreams. (source)

Naps scratch the surface, so you have to give yourself some time to fall asleep.  Sleep to keep your mental development up to par and to give your body time to heal.  The only cousin to death in this case is you walking around like a ZOMBIE! (-__-) ZzZzZz

Additional Reading:
APA.org
Health – MSN
Helpguide.org

  • Shannon Scates

    Was JUST talking about this Monday after watching Dr. Oz lol. I respect the Zzzs.

  • Oh, yes ma’am!  I definitely get my hours in, especially now that I’m getting older. LOL