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Work on Your Wellness: Get Enough Sleep

It's important for any IT professional to take care of Number One. If you haven't got your health, then everything else in your life tends to suffer. In Part 1 of our multipart series, we focus on sleep.

If you aren't getting enough sleep, then you're missing out on some extraordinary health benefits.Sleep deficiency affects people across all age groups in the United States. A survey conducted for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that about 7-to-19 percent of adults reported a lack of adequate sleep. According to the same survey, somewhere between 50 million and 70 million American suffer from chronic sleep disorders.

 

Many IT pros work long hours and lose out on sleep. Regular sleep loss can have adverse effects on mental and physical functioning. This can affect one’s performance at work as well as personal and social life.

 

Adequate good-quality sleep is vital to our physical and mental health, and safety. While we sleep, our bodies are at work, maintaining physical wellness and normal brain function. How well we feel and perform during the day is linked to how much and how well we sleep.

 

According to an article on Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency published on www.nhlbi.nih.gov, “Your ability to function and feel well while you're awake depends on whether you're getting enough total sleep and enough of each type of sleep. It also depends on whether you're sleeping at a time when your body is prepared and ready to sleep.”

 

IT pros need to keep learning on the job and honing their ability to solve problems. Research indicates that a good night’s sleep can help us learn and solve problems better.

 

Benefits of regular and adequate sleep

 

If you aren't getting enough sleep, then you're missing out on some extraordinary health benefits.Immunity maintenance and strengthening — Adequate sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. Individuals with strong immunity have better protection from germs and other harmful elements. Hence, their resistance to common infections is stronger than that of people with weak immune systems. Lack of sleep can upset normal functioning of our immune systems.

 

Heart health — High blood pressure can increase the risk of heart disease. It is believed that sufficient sleep every night helps to regulate blood pressure. This enables the heart and arteries to relax. Keeping blood pressure under control also reduces the risk of sleep apnea.

 

Reduced stress — According to experts, sleep deprivation can lead to higher levels of stress and an increase in blood pressure, which can cause strokes and heart attacks. In a state of high stress, the body produces more stress hormones. A high level of these hormones make it difficult to fall asleep. This is why individuals sometimes struggle to get sleep despite the fact that they are sleep deficient.

 

It’s important to find effective ways to reduce stress right away. Meditation can help. Walks in nature for 20 minutes or more, or relaxation techniques are also known to be helpful.

 

Decreased inflammation — High inflammation is linked to serious diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and arthritis. Studies have found a link between people who sleep six hours or less a night and higher levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory protein that may increase the risk of heart attacks.

 

Blood sugar regulation — It is believed that blood glucose levels drop during deep sleep, which helps to regulate blood sugar, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

 

If you aren't getting enough sleep, then you're missing out on some extraordinary health benefits.Improved memory and creativity — During sleep, our brains are believed to reorganize, restructure, and consolidate memories. Harvard University and Boston College researchers found that good-quality sleep may help to strengthen the emotional aspects of memory, which in turn can improve creative ability.

 

Restoration of the body — While sleep enables us to relax mentally and physically, the body continues to work, repairing our cells from the damage brought on by stress, and exposure to harmful factors during the day. Cells are known to produce more protein during sleep. This protein enables cell repair and renewal.

 

Better performance at work — Studies indicate that sufficient sleep helps to maintain and improve concentration, cognitive skills, and our ability to reason and react. People who sleep well are better equipped to perform well at work and be more productive than those with sleep deprivation.

 

Lack of sleep can affect the ability to focus, pay attention to detail, and solve problems. It can also cause mood changes, which can influence interpersonal relations at work.

 

Calorie control — Leptin and ghrelin are hormones that regulate appetite. Inadequate sleep can upset the balance of these hormones, causing us to feel hungrier than normal. Studies, including one by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, indicate that the amount and quality of sleep have an effect on hormones that influence appetite. Consuming more calories than necessary can lead to weight gain.

 

If you aren't getting enough sleep, then you're missing out on some extraordinary health benefits.Reduced risk of depression — Researchers have found a link between lack of sleep and higher risk of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. According to a study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, signs of depression were more likely in people with insomnia and other sleep disorders.

During sleep, our minds sort out our emotions, thereby maintaining our ability to react normally. Lack of sleep can upset emotional balance, and cause a person to develop a negative outlook. Adequate sleep can help people stay positive and happy.

 

Better athletic performance — While adults between 7 and 8 hours of sleep, studies have found that some athletes perform better with 9 to 10 hours.

 

Negative effects of not getting regular and adequate sleep

 

Sleep is an essential. Lack of sufficient and good sleep can impair the way our brains and bodies function. It can affect not only physical functions, but cognitive and social performance as well, leaving humans vulnerable to medical problems, diseases, poor cognition, attention gaps, fluctuating moods, social difficulties, and delayed responses.

 

Studies have also shown a possible link between inadequate sleep and a higher risk of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular ailments, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, and poor mental functioning, as well as early death. If you aren't getting as much sleep as you should, the question to ask yourself is, "Why not?!"

 

Make more time for sleep

 

If you aren't getting enough sleep, then you're missing out on some extraordinary health benefits.One of the best ways to get yourself to bed "on time" is to try and get home an hour early. This is easier said than done. But, considering sleep as essential makes it easier to organize your workday better so that you can wrap up earlier than usual.

 

Try to go to bed around the same time every day. It’s advisable to stop watching TV, as well as using your mobile, laptop, or e-reader an hour before bedtime because the light from these devices can prevent people from falling asleep. It’s also helpful to cut down on caffeine consumption and avoid heavy meals before bedtime.

 

Napping

 

Many people feel recharged after a short nap during the day. If you haven’t slept well, cat naps can revive alertness for a while, help you think clearly, and perform better. According to sleep experts, however, napping doesn’t compensate for the loss of regular and good-quality sleep.

 

Sleep disorders

 

Man yawning at desk with coffee cup and monitorSigns of sleep disorders include any of the following:

 

● Feeling of tiredness after 7 -8 hours of sleep
● Difficulty falling or staying asleep
● Recurrent and loud snoring
● Breathing lapses or gasping in your sleep
● Feeling sleepy during the day
● A feeling of itchiness in the limbs at night
● Difficulty moving legs and arms on waking up in the morning

 

If you experience any of these signs on a regular basis, it’s best to consult a doctor to see whether you need to be treated for a sleep disorder.

 


Reena GhoshABOUT THE AUTHOR

Reena Ghosh is an independent ghostwriter who writes promotional, developmental and explanatory content for individuals and businesses. She came to professional writing with work experience in financial services operations and corporate communication. Reena speaks three languages and hopes to learn Sanskrit.