The answer to this nagging question is really not controversial, in fact it is quite obvious that we as humans are not nocturnal creatures. On the contrary, we were created to live and function in the daylight. I don’t know about you, but I was not born with “headlights”, just two very light sensitive blue eyes that always function better in the day light.
I am always amazed when I hear statements like: “I will sleep when the work is done”, or “sleep is a waste of time”, or “I only require 4-5 hours of sleep per night”, or “I will sleep when I am dead”. Well, according to Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford, being sleep deprived is extremely harmful to your health and overall functioning in the following ways:
Consequences of too little sleep:
Drowsiness, microsleeps, and unintended sleep; Changes in mood patterns; Anxiety and depression; Decreased motor performance; Decreased cognitive performance; Impairment of memory and concentration; Poorer communication and decision-making; Increased irritability; Increased risk-taking; Weight gain; Increased risk of metabolic disorders and diabetes; Increased risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart attack; Increased risk of some cancers; Impaired immune response; Increased sensitivity to pain and finally, Increased hunger. Wow, did he leave anything out?
On the positive side of the ledger, sufficient sleep is directly related to spiritual, physical, mental and emotional well-being. Sound sleep improves energy, mood, immunity, productivity and can promote weight loss, lead to a longer life, and even help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
SO, What’s a person to do? Determine to get more sound (REM) sleep by following these simple steps according to Dr. Joe Gorman, associate professor of pastoral theology at Northwest Nazarene University:
- Learn to value sleep as much as God does (remember the 7th day of rest)
- Make your bedroom an oasis of rest. (Lose the electronics)
- Stick to a sleep schedule (Even on the weekends)
- Consider a sleep study (Don’ run from sleep Apnea)
- Work to repay your sleep debt ASAP (While it is still recoverable)
- Consider a sleep journal (Track the quality and quantity)
- Keep the room COOL (For most people 60-65 degrees)
- Impose a caffeine curfew (Caffeine has a half-life of 5-6 hours, the body absorbs it slowly)
- Abstain from alcohol as you draw close to bedtime (Alcohol disrupts REM sleep)
- Silence ant potential noise distractions ( Wear earplugs if necessary)
Well, give it a try, after all what do you have to lose except more sleep!! LOL