well for good health
deprivation can cause havoc
Remember those days when we used to say 'sleeping like a baby'? Well most of American adults have not slept that way for a long time. We have embraced a lifestyle and culture that either forces us to sleep less (too many things to do, too little time) or we just want to have too much fun (too many distractions these days during the night: television, Internet, and shops/restaurants/and bars that are open all night).
While we adopted the work ethics and habits of the Japanese (we lead the world now in number of hours we work a year and are somewhere at the bottom in using our vacation days), we did not study enough how the Japanese sleep. In fact, the reason Japan did not destroy the health of its people (as we have done) is by making sure that they got enough sleep. Japanese companies often pay for meals and hotel stays if one worked late, no questions asked. The Japanese also sleep anywhere they get a chance: office, commuter trains,
libraries, anywhere they can snatch a nap. Plus, the Japanese, particularly the women, believe that ample sleep is good for skin. So if you see a lot of sleepy women in Japan, do not be shocked. They are simply trying to catch up on their sleep so that they can look
prettier. Mandy Moore attributes her health and beauty to
sleeping well. (Related article: Relaxation
schedule for women)
The problem in America eventually started to afflict teenagers, who are almost always sleep-deprived, and thus, less attentive in school. Now the National Sleep Foundation is reporting that even babies are sleeping an average of 90 minutes less than the recommended 14 hours of sleep a day.
Another study by the University of British Columbia found that failing to get enough sleep or sleeping at odd hours heightens the risk for a variety of major illnesses, including
disease, diabetes and
Consequences of sleep deprivation
While we all know how cranky we feel when we are deprived of sleep, the consequences are much worse when you get behind the wheel in that state. Deadly accidents happen. Teenagers do not learn as well. Development of babies can be significantly retarded by lack of sleep.
And that is why, if sleep is not possible, even a short nap is a
good idea - like
Eva Longoria, who calls herself a "power napper."
What I want to highlight here is the gravest consequence that lack of sleep has on general health, and in particular, on weight. When you do not get enough sleep, you inevitably get up late in the morning and are in a rush to do everything. That means that we have no time to eat a healthy breakfast (some folks miss breakfast altogether - something that doctors advise against) or we pick up 'junk' and eat it while driving or while starting our day at work. This just makes things worse: lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and unhealthy morning meals; no wonder we are becoming so obese as a nation. In a small survey that we conducted we found a strong correlation among people who did not sleep the recommended 7-9 hours and obesity.
(Related article: Japanese
diet for weight loss)
Yes, we all complain about the lack of time or the desire to do all that we want to do in the limited time available, but rarely think of doing something about the main cause for lack of sleep. It is not always possible to
change your lifestyle in our 24/7 economy. When businesses are open late or 24/7, some of us make that happen, and that means that either we do not get to sleep when we should or we sleep less. What is important to remember is that while it would be great to sleep the recommended number of hours, it is even more important that we sleep well during whatever number of hours we do get to sleep. For instance, those of us who have to sleep during the day or in noisy neighborhoods or when we unduly stressed, need to find ways to get good sleep. That is where one should consider help.
Dr. Natasha Turner, an expert at Truestar Health, a company
that believes in improving health through balancing
attitude, sleep, exercise,
supplements, points out, "Sleep problems affect one-third to one-half of us at some point in our lives, causing many of us to turn to over-the-counter or
medications. These drugs may cause morning drowsiness or sleep that lacks natural rejuvenating properties. This is where naturopathic medicines can make a difference. When taken properly and for the right reasons,
natural supplements can be very effective in improving the quality and quantity of your sleep, with little or no side effects."
Apart from supplements, there are other ways to guarantee good sleep:
warm bath prior to going to bed always helps.
Make sure that you use
aromatherapy essential oils to relax your mind.
For those of you who do not exercise at all, it is important that you do it. You do not have to go to the gym if you do not have the time of money to do it. In fact many exercises can be done without any equipment at all right in your home.
Music is a great way to relax even if you have no stress (is there any adult who can say that?). Get an audio system in your bedroom and put on some meditation or
relaxation music while you are about to go to bed.
Finally, prepare yourself well to sleep:
make your bedroom as comfortable as
possible, use high
quality comforters, eliminate all light/noise coming into the room, and dress in
Miranda Kerr cute sleepwear).
Sleep just enough. While
sleeplessness is disastrous, so is oversleeping (more than 9
hours). Doctors recommend 6-8 hours.
Recommended articles: How
to sleep well without supplements like melatonin?
How to sleep with a
to avoid puffy eyes and dark circles? Fine
lines and and eyebags due to lack of sleep