Sleeping is an essential function of life. We sleep for ⅓ of our lives.
It’s simple math, right? There are 24 hours in a day. Most people spend 8 hours working, 8 hours taking care of everything else, and if you get the recommended amount of sleep, you spend 8 hours sleeping. I am no math major, but 8 times 3 comes out to 24.
“The numbers are so simple, yet, most of us don’t get the recommended amount of sleep.”
The importance of sleep
For example, a poll conducted shows that 40% of the United States get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep. Let’s think about that for a second. That’s nearly half of our entire country. Does that sound like a problem to you? It surely does to me. With recent studies showing just how important sleep is, how is it that we don’t take sleep as seriously as we should?
This article explains just how vital sleep is from a biological perspective. It mentions how sleep is essential for things like long term memory while decreasing your likelihood of getting a disease. Sleep, although recognized as one of the most critical factors of good health, is often neglected by many people. These same individuals tend to form negative sleeping habits over the years.
The complexity of sleep
Sleeping is very complex. Despite its straightforward nature, it’s so much more than closing your eyes and resting. Sleep disorders such as insomnia and narcolepsy are common. Sleeping is a part of our daily routines. In this way, it becomes second nature in our lives. While sleeping should be effortless, it requires a little more thought than you may think. A personal example I have is my Mom.
Growing up, my Mom slept extremely irregular hours, which became a harmful habit over the years. By nature, my Mom is a night owl. Especially in comparison to my Dad, let alone anyone on the planet. Often, when I was young, she would stay up until 2 in the morning, knowing she had to wake up at 5 in the morning to get ready for work. Going to bed so late gave her a total of 3 hours of sleep in a day. That isn’t very much at all, and surely not enough to be proactive throughout the entire day. So what would she do?
Once she got off of work at 3 in the afternoon, she would come right home, change her clothes, and lay on the couch to go to sleep. She would sleep for 3 or 4 hours and then wake up to make my family dinner. Then she would stay up again, and the cycle repeated itself again and again. Over the years, I’ve begged my Mom to change her sleeping habits. It just wasn’t healthy for her body or mind, for that matter.
Sleeping irregularly like this can increase health risks and just put you in an overall worse mood daily. Since then, my Mom has become more proactive in her daily sleeping habits. She is making them more favorable, achieving more regular hours of sleep. Still, she occasionally stays up and naps throughout the day, but haven’t we all done that.
“It’s about minimizing these negative sleeping habits and turning them into positive ones. ”
Stages of sleep
There are various stages of sleep. While most individuals have heard of this, many cannot tell you the difference between them. There are 5 stages of sleep, according to this article. The first one involves the release of alpha and theta waves as your eye movement slows. The second, third, and fourth stages include the beginning of what is known as “deep sleep.” At this point, it becomes harder for you to wake up. The final stage, widely known as REM sleep, which stands for rapid eye movement, is the most important of all stages.
Essentially, this is where your brain processes everything from the day you’ve just had and stores it away in your long term memory. Your eyes move rapidly, hence the name, and this is where you begin to have dreams. Each stage is essential in its own right. They come together in harmony to help you feel well-rested and ready to take on the next day.
Life without sleep isn’t much of a life at all. To live a life full of health, love, and happiness, we must challenge ourselves to sleep regularly and get the requisite amount each night.