heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 5 of 7: Get some sleep

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”
W. C. Fields

I think I must have been a cat in a past life.  I’m not sure whether I’m nocturnal by nature, or simply an insomniac.  One thing is for certain: I do not sleep very much.  And when I do, it’s a light sleep that is easily disturbed by sound or motion.

Most “night” people (a.k.a. insomniacs) know, in theory, that sleep is essential to good health and well-being.  In practice, however, we fool ourselves into thinking that we’re doing some of our best work late at night, when everything is silent and still.  Actually, a good night’s sleep will boost overall productivity by a much greater degree than a sleepless night will.  

5 simple reasons why sleeping through the night is a good thing:

  1. It improves your memory
  2. Boosts creativity
  3. Gives you more energy
  4. Makes you feel younger
  5. Makes you look younger
“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”
William Blake

5 medically-proven reasons why prolonged bouts of not sleeping can kill you:

  1. May cause inflammation which, in turn, may result in high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, premature aging and death
  2. May cause your metabolism to slow down and your weight to increase
  3. May make you accident-prone
  4. May contribute to depression and/or mood swings
  5. May adversely affect your immune system – making you more susceptible to colds, viruses, pneumonia
“Your life is a reflection of how you sleep, and how you sleep is a reflection of your life.”
Dr. Rafael Pelayo

Did you know that approximately 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 sleep disorders? I kid you not.  

So, how much sleep do we really need? Although it depends on the person, the general credo is that 7-8 hours sleep (for adults) is ideal. The National Sleep Foundation has provided a chart showing the ideal sleep duration per age group, including the ideal time to go to sleep – see below:

sleepchart

Personally, I intend to make an effort to sleep more (and earlier).  The odds will not be in my favor, if I don’t make this critical life change.

To all the insomniacs out there: please, please get some sleep!

“And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new opened flower then I have been dipped again in God, and new created.”
D.H. Lawrence

A Writer’s greatest tonic: SLEEP!

Ha!  I know, you thought I would say that the writer’s greatest tonic is  …. perhaps, some scotch (straight up, of course) or a glass of Pinot Noir!  Well, I jest you not … a good night’s sleep does indeed stimulate the creative juices.  Waking up in the morning and feeling refreshed and alert (until you catch a glimpse of your puffy-eyed reflection in the mirror!) will go a long way to helping you finish that oh-so-wordy chapter 6 (the chapter that keeps on giving ….. me heartburn).  All right, enough of my writing woes.  Here are some interesting tidbits and links on the physical and psychological benefits of sleep — not just for neurotic writers, but for everyone:

Many of us think that we can get by on very little sleep.  When deadlines loom near, we pull a few all-nighters. And this is okay …. once in a while.  The startling news is that far too many of us follow a daily sleep regimen of less than 6 hours per night. This, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School, falls under the category of chronic sleep loss and may contribute to a number of health problems, such as  a compromised immune system, weight gain, and high blood pressure.  The Harvard Women’s Health Watch reports that there are at least 6 good reasons to get enough sleep:

  1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

And, here are some sleep guidelines from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:

Sleep Requirements by Age

Newborns (0-2 months old) 12-18 hours
Infants (3-11 months old) 14-15 Hours
Toddlers (1-3 years old)l 12-14 Hours
Pre-schoolers (3-5 years old) 11-13 Hours
School-aged Children (5-10 years old) 10-11 Hours
Teens (11-17 years old) 8-9 Hours
Adults 7-9 Hours

And, for those of you who complain incessantly that your mattress is the reason why you don’t sleep well at night — please do some research and then invest in a new mattress!

Sweet dreams …

Sleep – the most beautiful experience in life – except drink.
W. C. Fields

I couldn’t resist.

Cheers,  h.f.t.g.

Image via kiwimagonline.com.