Sleep is important!

Why?  Because not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain……

Several studies have shown that not getting enough sleep or a decrease in sleep quality can affect appetite control that may lead to overeating. Lack of sleep has also been tied to decreased insulin sensitivity and increased risk of diabetes, both conditions that are often linked with overweight.  In addition, sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss have also been linked to heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

Our bodies are programmed for two natural periods of sleepiness during a 24-hour day, irrespective of the amount sleep we’ve had in the previous 24 hours. The primary period is between midnight and 7 a.m., and a second period occurs in the midafternoon, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

How much should we sleep?

Sleep requirements vary from person to person and change throughout a person’s lifecycle.

  • Newborns sleep up to 18 hours a day.
  • Preschoolers need 11 to 13 hours of sleep per night
  • Children up to age 12 need 10 to 11 hours.
  • Adolescents need about nine hours of sleep a night.
  • Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep.

As we get older, we often get less sleep because our ability to sleep for long periods of time and get into the deep restful stages of sleep can decrease. In general, older people are more easily disturbed by light, noise, and pain, and may have medical conditions that contribute to sleep problems.

On average, we spend about two hours dreaming each night, or 20% to 25% of a night’s sleep. Nightmares occur more often during stressful periods and tend to be more common among children than adults.

In addition to blurred vision, not getting enough sleep can cause fatigue, irritability, and an inability to concentrate.  Chronic insomnia is when a person has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights a week for a month or longer. Acute insomnia can last for a few nights to a few weeks.

Sleep apnoea is pauses in breathing while you sleep and may occur up to 30 times per hour.  During sleep apnoea, carbon dioxide builds up in the bloodstream. Sleep apnoea occur often in obese patients and are associated with several other diseases.  If you feel tired during the day without any apparent reason, talk to your doctor about the possibility of sleep apnoea.

Adapted from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders

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