Healthy sleep is as important as diet, exercise and stress management in health.

Many Americans make no effort to get healthy sleep, believing that sleep can be consumed. The research shows that this is not true. We lose sleep on our own responsibility.

"There is a lot of compelling evidence to support the argument that sleep is the most important predictor of how long it will take to live, perhaps more important than smoking, exercising, or high blood pressure or cholesterol." (1)

Believe it or not, healthy sleep …

* Increase your ability to think and function at the highest level

* Increase your althletic performance by 30%

* Improves skin and skin appearance

* Helps lose weight

* Improves memory and learning ability

* Reduces risk of diabetes

* Protects your heart and reduces the risk of heart disease

* Improves your ability to fight infections

] * Reduces the risk of accidents (2-4)

Sleep Benefits:

"We are not healthy if our sleep is not healthy." writes Sleep Pioneer, William Dement, MD (1).

We always knew intuitively that sleep was important. "Nothing better than a good night's sleep" is a general expression of understanding. But for some reason we don't listen to our own wisdom. Because most of the children were in bed in the household law. Our parent made sure we got enough sleep. They knew what was good for us. As we were older, it seems that most of us have forgotten or ignored the value of sleep. We live in a culture that values ​​workmanship, work and productivity, and that frowns on lethargy.

Only in the past year (2008) has the media paid attention to healthy sleep and insomnia. This is a big result of doing more research on the bad effects of insomnia in previously unexpected conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity and weight gain. Researchers now suggest that insomnia is a major risk factor for these diseases.

Why Are We Losing So Healthy Sleep?

One of the main causes of lost sleep is stress and overwork.

In our lives in stressful times, a common reaction is to recognize ourselves to meet the demands we have made. Emphasis comes in our individual lives and goes. But now it seems our whole society is stressed. Almost no one would argue that there is a history of stress (around 2008).

One of the first victims of stress is healthy sleep. What Americans are struggling with insomnia like ever. In 2005, according to a National Sleep Foundation survey, less than half of Americans feel they are getting healthy sleep every night or every other night (5).

Healthy sleep deprivation in our nation is reflected in the use of sleeping medications. In 2006, forty-nine million recipes for sleeping were prescribed (3). This represents a 53% increase over the last five years. The leading sleep drug is Ambien, which in 2006 accounted for 60% of sleep requirements or $ 2.8 billion (2.8 billion) sales. In 2006, drug companies spent $ 600,000,000 on advertising. The primary focus of all advertising is to "stop using sleeping pills" (5).

Although the main cause of our insomnia is stress, our modern environment also discourages sleep.

Artificial light and man-made technologies give us many reasons to stay awake at night. Remember that in much of human history, the darkness of the night brought a real dampener to stay awake in the little hours. Our grandparents slept 1 1/2 hours as every night, according to Dr. Christopher Gillin, a psychiatrist and professor at the University of San Diego (6). He announced that every third American complains of insomnia last year and every sixth thinks his insomnia is serious.

Thomas Edison himself, the inventor of the electric light bulb, thought that too much sleep was a bad thing. "A person who sleeps eight or ten o'clock at night is never sleepy and never wakes up completely – there is only a different dose in 24 hours," Edison said. He felt that people were given twice as much sleep as needed. Excessive sleep was "unhealthy and ineffective" (1).

While Edison is known to have slept only four hours at night, it was also reported that he had frequent sunset. Total sleep time seems to be nearly 8 hours every 24 hours. Based on Edison's personal philosophy, he invented the electric lamp. No invention interfered with the human sleep cycle as electric lamps.

The rhythm of healthy sleep and biological hours

Biological lessons provide the body with a natural sleep and wake-up rhythm. Determines the timing of healthy sleep. Our body clock can be set in artificial light. Our body follows the day-night cycle when it registers light through the eye. This daily rhythm is called a circadian rhythm.

This rhythm is experienced every 24 hours when our earth is rotating on its axis. This is a 24-hour repetitive cycle, after which our life is modeled. The darkness of the night stimulates our brain to release melatonin, the body's hormone. Melatonin helps to sleep. Artificial illumination reduces the secretion of melatonin and may interfere with the ability to sleep.

The disadvantage of the 24-hour society

When the ancient "burned in the middle of the night oil", the intensity of light was not enough to disturb the circadian rhythm of our body. Light intensity is measured in luxury. One lux is the amount of light emitted by a candle. Researchers have proven that only 180 lux can restore or disrupt the biological clock. A 100-watt 10-meter bulb emits 190 lux, enough to restore the biological clock.

In the darkness, our eyes are less illuminated. This indicates to our brain to release melatonin, the body's hormone. Melatonin increases at night and decreases during the day, responding to light coming into our eyes. This is how mankind experienced the daily night cycle of 1000 years.

The bright light of one night shows that the sun is shining and as a result, your brain reduces melatonin levels. This disruption of melatonin can affect the health of sleep. Melatonin has been shown to have many health benefits. Reducing levels in your body can affect our health regardless of the problem of sleep. In our modern society, there is a multitude of stress and 24/7 activities. The combination of the two seriously affects sleep. For most of us, sleep is no longer healthy.

What is healthy sleep?

Healthy sleep means that you have enough sleep, and that you are experiencing a sufficient amount of sleep. How much sleep is enough? The consensus among sleep researchers is that adults need about eight hours at night.

Dr. William Dement, a researcher of sleep, says: "Usually, people have to sleep for an hour every two hours, which means that most need about eight hours of sleep a night. (1) Before you begin to prove your chronic lack of sleep, consider Dr. Dement's strong statement:

"Despite sleeping needs, people who sleep for an average of eight hours usually live longer." (1)

In addition to how many hours did you get, how can you tell that you are asleep? The best way to quickly fall asleep during the day is to get a chance. This is how researchers measure lack of sleep. The more sleep delay test is used by scientists to assess the degree of individual sleep deprivation.

The research topics provide a place to sit comfortably in a quiet, dark room in the middle of the day. The volunteer monitors the brain waves to see if they sleep. The test lasts only 20 minutes. Research topics provide a place to sit comfortably in a quiet, dark room in the middle of the day. The volunteer monitors the brain waves to see if they sleep. The test lasts only 20 minutes.

If the subject falls asleep within 5 minutes, this causes severe sleep deprivation. These "physical and mental reactions are often very damaged" (1). The 5 to 10 minute fall sleep is considered to be a "boundary" sleep. Sleeping between 10 and 15 minutes indicates an acceptable amount. Falling sleep in 15-20 minutes, or at no point, indicates that the subject's alertness is excellent.

Another way to see that sleep is deprived is to see how sleepy you are. The sleeper, the more you have to sleep, right? This evaluation, the so-called Epworth Sleepiness Scale (8), is accurate for someone who needs more or less than eight hours. If you are sleepy, you just don't get enough sleep.

The normal sleep cycle.

Another part of healthy sleep is the normal sleep cycle. This means going through each cycle of sleep and experiencing each of them for quite a long time.

There are four stages of sleep and REM. 1-4. The stage is the progression of sleep (stage 1), light sleep (stage 2) and deep sleep (stages 3 and 4). During deep sleep, the body is in a substantially calm state. Muscle tension loosens, blood pressure slows down, heart rate and breathing are reduced. During deep sleep, the body secretes the impulses of human growth hormone.

Human growth hormone is sometimes referred to as the hormonal fountain of young people because of its rejuvenating properties. Every night, the body improves and restores itself under the control of human growth hormone. After a deep sleep, REM goes into sleep. During REM sleep, the Rapid Eye Movement works. REM is when we dream. The researchers found that REM sleep seems to help us remember what we learned the previous day.


1 Dement, William C., Vaughan, Christopher. The promise of sleep. Introduction. © 1999, Dell Publishing, NY, NY. William Dement, MD, is a pioneer in sleep research, working to raise awareness of the epidemic and ill effects of insomnia.

2 Susan Brink (October 2000). Sleepless Society By halfway through the night, we can risk our health. US News & World Report, 129 (15), 62-72.

(3) Well calm olympics who are ready for gold. (February 2006). USA Today, 134 (2729), 15.

[4] Lauren Wiener, Hollace Schmidt. (March 2007). your new # 1 lasting healthy mission: more sleep. Shape, 26 (7), 98, 100-102.

5 Mooallem, Jon. The sleeping industry complex. New York Times, November 18, 2007

(6) The radio interview published on March 31, 1999, by Lichenstein Creative Media, The Infinite Mind.

(7) Free Dictionary of Farlex.

(8) Wiktionary Keyword: Epworth Sleepiness Scale

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