Sleep: it is quintessential to our lives. Every human being has the major basic functions in common. One of these vital necessities is the need to sleep. Though we all have different sleep patterns, sleep different amounts, and the quality of our slumber varies greatly, sleep is literally necessary to stay alive. Strangely, though it is just as important as breathing, many people live with agonizing and life altering sleep disorders. The importance of sleep is often overlooked.
There are many reasons our bodies need sleep. Sleep is our bodies’ way of rejuvenating. It is the period in which we lower the energy levels expelled each day, our muscles and soft tissue are repaired and revitalized, and our mind is able to process memories and things we have learned for the day. Although one day of sleep deprivation is not fatal, it will indeed cause alterations in mood, physical well being, and overall cognitive function. Increased periods of time without sleep with further these negative changes into hallucinations, poor mental clarity, and often provoked disease, or even death. Studies show that the majority of fatal car crashes are directly correlative to lack of sleep.
In order to evaluate and truly respect the importance of sleep, it is relevant to consider the symptoms that occur with the absence of proper sleep. First of all, the average duration of sleep should be around eight hours. Studies have shown that certain individuals are able to function with less sleep, with as little as six hours; however others are unable to function unless they have reached as many as ten hours of rest. Contrary to the common tendency of many to try to “sneak in extra Z’s” by hitting the snooze button over and over, this habit usually hinders the body’s collective sleep and reduces the time spent in REM (rapid eye movement).
A lack of sleep will quickly cause irritability, grogginess, the inability to make decisions or follow through with cognitive functions. It will cause hallucinations, dozing off during activities and even throughout the day, etc. A continued lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, anxiety, depression, lethargy and fatigue. A chronic, or pathological, sleep disorder will often result in an immune system deficiency. Severe sleep deprivation can ultimately lead to death. These inevitabilities clearly show the importance of sleep.
Often times, diseases in themselves will contribute to poor sleep. Many illnesses, serious pain, overactive thoughts or anxiety, a large upset in life such as a trauma or severe stress can all contribute to a poorer quality of sleep. Temporary sleeping troubles will usually subside if they are an immediate result of stress, however they can just as quickly slip into a serious condition. Treating sleep difficulty is imperative.
There are some simple tips to follow on your own if you are seeking a healthier sleep pattern. Eliminate caffeine in the afternoon and evening. The consumption of caffeine within a few hours before bed will directly inhibit your ability to fall asleep. Exercise, heavy meals, or drugs/alcohol will also diminish the quality of sleep if occurring shortly before hitting the hay. Instead, exercising earlier in the day will aid in ascertaining a healthy sleep regimen. Certain medications will increase adrenaline (such as decongestants) and disable the body from relaxing properly. Anxiety and an overactive mind will cause difficulty in allowing the mind and body to rest so practice deep breathing, meditation or prayer, focused intent on healthy sleeping etc. This usually gets the body ready for sleep and initiates a mental and physical relaxation. Establish a routine. This will help balance the body’s internal clock and ultimately inadvertently initiate the readiness and acceptance of sleep. Make sure your bed is comfortable and your environment is appropriate. Studies acknowledge that noise, light, even a partner with sleeping troubles will easily influence the quality of sleep. Be aware of your nightly surroundings and make sure they are not interfering in achieving a healthy sleep pattern. There are many alternatives to try before depending on sleeping pills. In fact, many sleeping pills have adverse side effects, including trouble sleeping!
Ultimately, there are many downfalls experienced when sleep is not prevalent. Life takes a grave turn for the worst quickly when it is unable to rejuvenate properly. In just a matter of days, the quality of life is altered when sleep is deprived. It is utterly an essential part of life, and there are many ways to try to achieve it; further more to enhance the state of rest you are entering. Proper sleep will absolutely boost your health, your mood, and the quality of your life. Face it, sleep it not a luxury; it is a necessity to staying alive.
Professor Chris Idzikowski, director of the UK Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service analysed six common sleeping positions – and found that each is linked to a particular personality type.
What your sleeping position says about you …
Those who curl up in the foetus position are described as tough on the outside but sensitive at heart. They may be shy when they first meet somebody, but soon relax. This is the most common sleeping position, adopted by 41% of the 1,000 people who took part in the survey. More than twice as many women as men tend to adopt this position.
Lying on your side with both arms down by your side. These sleepers are easy going, social people who like being part of the in-crowd, and who are trusting of strangers. However, they may be gullible.
People who sleep on their side with both arms out in front are said to have an open nature, but can be suspicious, cynical. They are slow to make up their minds, but once they have taken a decision, they are unlikely ever to change it.
Lying on your back with both arms pinned to your sides. People who sleep in this position are generally quiet and reserved. They don’t like a fuss, but set themselves and others high standards.
Lying on your front with your hands around the pillow, and your head turned to one side. Often gregarious and brash people, but can be nervy and thin-skinned underneath, and don’t like criticism, or extreme situations.
Lying on your back with both arms up around the pillow. These sleepers make good friends because they are always ready to listen to others, and offer help when needed. They generally don’t like to be the centre of attention.
The remainder of those in the poll said the position they fell asleep varied or did not know.
Professor Idzikowski also examined the effect of various sleeping positions on health. He concluded that the freefall position was good for digestion, while the starfish and soldier positions were more likely to lead to snoring and a bad night’s sleep.
Professor Idzikowski said “Lying down flat means that stomach contents can more readily be worked back up into the mouth, while those who lie on their back may end up snoring and breathing less well during the night. “Both these postures may not necessarily awaken the sleeper but could cause a less refreshing night’s sleep.”
The research also found that most people are unlikely to change their sleeping position. Just 5% said they sleep in a different position every night.