The following was taken from Sam Graci’s book The Path To Phenomenal Health, regarding sleep. In today’s world sleep seems to be that which we do not take seriously because we see it as having little value, whether monetarily or health wise. We are under the impression we can catch up on sleep when in fact our current system doesn’t allow for it.
Sleep is not a waste of time. Take time to reflect on your lifestyle. Ask yourself: Is my lifestyle appropriate for my optimum well being? One of the main reasons most people are exhausted is because they are in sleep deprivation. The National Sleep Foundation encourages adults to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If you do not get sufficient sleep, you will accumulate a sleep debt that becomes too big to repay, yet the average North American gets less than seven hours of sleep a night and 68% are classified as sleep deprived. This resulting sleep deprivation is linked to negative moods, aggressiveness, daytime fatigue, decreased productivity and an increase in both domestic and workplace accident rates.
To be able to sleep deeply, you must sleep in a room that is as dark as possible. Receptor cells both in our eyes and on our skin monitor the amount of daylight that is entering the eyes or reaching the skin. If your skin and eyes receive even a small bit of light from illuminated clocks, blinking DVD players, nightlights, or street lights that come through the curtains, your body sends a message that you still need to be alert and attentive. It is only in complete darkness that the body can send a message that everything else is asleep so we do not have to be alert and can naturally fall into a deep sleep. It is only in deep dark sleep that your pineal gland will synthesize the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for putting us into a deep rejuvenating sleep. If you do this you will sleep as nature intended you to.
Most of us don’t want to say goodnight to fun and responsibility. The telephone, the internet, email, ebay, and the one hundred television channels all rob us of sleep. We have extended the wear and tear of our waking day and shortened the restorative dark phase of the circadian cycle through artificial light.
Every night we move further and further from the 9 to 10 hours of sleep that the adult got in 1920. Each weekday we get 1 hour and 36 minutes less, on average, than the 8 and a half hours that sleep experts recommend. Each weekend night we receive 1 full hour less.
By the end of the year, we are short 458 hours – almost three full weeks of sleep. During an 80 year life span, we fall short and enormous 36,640 hours or 218 weeks worth of lost sleep. We are the great unslept, working our way through life on the verge of sleep bankruptcy. Chronic inadequate sleep affects 70% of all adults.
What are the consequences of being sleep deprived? In 1940 only 20% of north americans died from a combination of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In 2006 nearly 90% will die from a combination of cancer diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The increase in these degenerative disease coincides and grafts exactly with our getting less sleep, staying up later because of artificial light and eating more processed refined foods.
As you sleep in a deep and regenerative delta state of 3.5Hz brain waves, your brain is relaxed and open to accept your unconscious dream state. Your brain at this time can process new information and purge excess information, leaving you refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated the next day.
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