Sleep is important for every body process, and tends to me something people sacrifice for things like work or socializing. Chronic sleep deprivation and lack of REM sleep can have negative health effects like ADD, memory loss, obesity, increased appetite and a compromised immune system. I’m going to explain what chronic sleep deprivation and REM sleep are, and how you can get more quality sleep.
Chronic Sleep Deprivation
Chronic sleep deprivation is when you consistently don’t get enough sleep. It is recommended for an adult between ages 18 and 64 to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, on average eight solid hours. This doesn’t mean they’re in bed for eight hours but are actually getting restorative sleep in that time. If you get less than eight hours day after day, week after week, you could suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. I was going to bed at around 1:30AM because I still had work to do after everyone else went to bed. I was getting up at around 5:30AM to hit the gym and see my friends, which left me with about four hours of sleep every night for a long time. I was groggy and sleepy each morning and felt like I needed a nap most days, but I pushed through because that’s what I thought successful people did. It was only after a brain scan and some testing that I realized my brain and body needed a break, they needed more sleep.
When you sleep your brain and body go through five stages of sleep, which makes one complete sleep cycle. You experience several of these cycles each night, which results in quality sleep. The last or fifth stage of the sleep cycle is REM sleep. It’s in this stage that the brain and body organize the thoughts and memories of the day, and get rid of toxins. Your brain is busy all day with body functions, work, and concentration, so many things, and when you’re sleeping is the only time your brain can process everything and purge toxins. If you aren’t getting enough sleep your brain isn’t getting the break it needs and you feel groggy, have less energy, and can be forgetful. With chronic sleep deprivation your brain and body have a build up of toxins that can’t be removed during the day, which can alter your brain and lead to impaired function.
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There seems to be a secret to getting quality sleep, but with a few changes you will be well on your way to a better night’s sleep. First you have to change your routines and schedule to accommodate a full eight hours of sleep. Start by turning out the lights 15 minutes earlier and build up to the full eight hours. Make sure your bedroom is a place for sleep, not a place for watching television, catching up on emails, or doing work. It should be quiet, dark, and maybe even cooler than the rest of your house. Any lights may be distracting, even those from a cable box or alarm clock. Give yourself time to adjust to new routines, but make sleep a priority, your body and mind will thank you.
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