Increasingly researchers are looking at the effects of poor sleep on our workers and children. And the products of that research increasingly tend to show that we underestimate both, our need for sleep , and the power of sleep.
During any stress event whether at work, at school or with our friends we produce cortisol which is a chemical designed to get us ready for fight or flight. These chemicals are meant to be produced and burnt out by our actions. This type of stress is actually good for us.
Unfortunately the type of stress that we subject ourselves to in today’s world means that these chemicals just build up in our systems. This type of stress is called chronic stress and is very bad for us.
This is where sleep becomes very important to us. Poor or short sleep means that we will not handle stress as well, and that we are more prone to it.
Much of our recovery from chronic stress occurs during sleep. And while our bodies will need increased intakes of some of the chemicals that our bodies use during stress events we will also have a much increased need for sleep.
There are 2 major issues for people in thinking about sleep. The first, and the most commonly misunderstood is sleep Hygiene.
Sleep Hygiene is all of the environmental and behavioural factors that control your sleep. So there are issues to control such as;
- Light levels,
- Air flow,
- Disturbances such as pets,
Sleep disorders are less common and are what we often think of when we are actually just talking about sleep hygiene. Sleep disorders are an actual medical issue and requires intervention by medical prfessionals. Some examples of sleep disorders are;
- Sleep walking,
- Bruxism (grinding of the teeth)
These sleep disorders can be caused by nutritional deficiencies or by psychological, psychiatric or health problems, so it is best to see your doctor and get a referral to a sleep professional if problems persist past a few weeks.
So how much do we actually need?
The national sleep foundation in america has done plenty of research on sleep. Their research shows that teenagers are probably the most chronically sleep deprived (excepting parents of babies) and should still be
sleeping over 8.5 hours a day.
So parents if your teens are frustrating you try talking to them about sleep!
Sleep, it can have positive affects on our health, resilience, work, thinking and relationships.
When would now be a good time to become mindful about our sleep.
Sleep well and catch you soon!