Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sleep Deprivation #4

Are you cheating yourself of the amount of sleep your brain and body really need? Studies have shown that in order to function effectively, most people need at least seven or eight hours of good sleep each 24 hours. Unfortunately, many Americans are sleep-deprived, trying to get along with a measly five or six hours. Lack of adequate sleep can adversely impact brain function and affect body systems (heart, kidneys). It can also impact mood, reaction time, sensitivity to pain, and metabolism (e.g., lack of sleep can increase metabolism).  Even a few restless nights with inadquate amounts of sleep or the cummulative lack of several hours sleep during a week, can lead to weight gain. Christopher Winters, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Sleep Center, says that new studies confirm that people who want to control their weight need to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. He also suggests paying special attention to your food cravings on the occasions when you cannot get a good night's sleep (.e.g, traveling). Awareness, after all, is the first step on the continuum of positive change. Are you unwittingly getting too little sleep?

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