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Sleep

Sleep recharges the brain and allows the body to relax and heal.

This is accomplished in several ways:

  • During sleep the blood supply to the muscles is increased which helps to repair muscles.
  • The body's metabolic activity is at its lowest, and the pituitary gland's secretions of growth hormones are peaked in deep sleep, which allows for tissue growth and repair.
  • The body increases our immune response to infections during sleep.
  • REM sleep plays a major role in facilitating memory storage and retention, organization and reorganization, as well as new learning and performance. When sleep is disrupted, the brain's ability to transfer short-term memory into long-term memory is impaired. If the body is not recharged and ready for the day, stress levels can increase.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Sleep needs vary from person to person.  Some need only four hours per night, but others seem to need 10.

Some people complain because they sleep "only" five or six hours each night.  Yet many of these people awake rested in the morning and function well during the day.

Five or six hours of sleep is all they need most of the time. They don't have insomnia. Other people feel tired after eight hours of sleep.  They need more than the "normal" seven to eight hour average.  Just one more hour of sleep often gives these people the rest they need.

Experiment to find the amount of sleep you need. Remember, too, that the amount of sleep you need will vary. Your need for sleep may decrease and your ability to go to sleep may improve when you are exercising regularly and doing things you enjoy and do easily.

You may need more sleep and experience more sleeplessness if you are under more stress or as you become less active (e.g., move from an active to a sedentary job, return to the more sedentary role of student after an active summer).

Too Little Sleep Means:Not Getting Enough Sleep If You:
  • Stress, anxiety and loss of coping skills
  • Reduced immunity to disease and viral infection
  • Feelings of lethargy
  • Mood shifts
  • Impaired judgment
  • Reduced productivity. Reduction in cognitive functioning and reaction time including: Ability to concentrate, remember, handle complex tasks, think logically, assimilate and analyze new information, and think critically
  • Decision-making skills
  • Vocabulary and communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Motor skills and coordination
  • Perceptual skills

 

  • Fall asleep within five minutes of getting into bed
  • Cannot wake up in the morning at the appropriate time without an alarm clock.
  • Feel sleepy during the day
  • Struggle to get out of bed in the morning
  • Fall asleep in meetings and lectures
  • Need caffeine to keep you awake
  • Often sleep extra hours on the weekend
  • Fall asleep watching TV
  • Have trouble concentrating and remembering
  • Fall asleep after heavy meals or after one or two alcoholic drinks

 

Sleep Induction Relaxation Technique

The Sleep Induction Relaxation Exercise sound track is a practice of relaxation technique to help you relax before bedtime.

A special thank you to the University of Mary Washington for allowing us to use the sound track.

by Clark, Leslie A. last modified Apr 10, 2014 01:00 PM

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