I love sleeping. I especially savor that moment of sublime drowsiness- head cushioned, body enveloped- just before the plunge into total unconsciousness. Unfortunately, I don’t often get a full and satisfying night’s sleep. And apparently I’m not alone. In a recent American study, 75% of adults polled admitted to having sleep problems. It’s no wonder. Life is hectic. Late nights and early mornings have become part of the North American lifestyle. It seems there are just not enough hours in a day to accommodate a busy schedule. When one does find time to hit the hay, the cares of the day past and the plans of the day ahead continue to fill the mind, and sleep remains elusive.|
It’s imperative that we get a good night’s sleep, because not catching enough Z’s can lead to a frightening array of health issues. Sleep deprivation lowers your body’s leptin level (your natural hunger suppressant) and raises your ghrelin level (your body’s hunger stimulant), thus contributing to obesity. In addition a definitive connection has been found linking lack of sleep and diabetes. A third health risk is high blood pressure. Sleep deprivation puts undue strain on the cardiovascular system, making it work harder to keep up with a longer waking day. If you sleep less than 5 hours a night, your chance of having a heart attack is increased by a whopping 45%! Not only is sleep necessary for good health and longevity, we also need it to feel alert, pleasant, and energetic .
Most adult sleep issues fall into one or more of the following three categories: difficulty falling asleep; trouble staying asleep; and waking up not feeling refreshed. Do you have trouble getting your recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night? In my next blog, I’ll suggest ways to facilitate a better night’s sleep.