You Need Your Sleep!

Would anyone challenge the statement that a good night’s sleep is a fundamental component of maintaining good health? Probably not. For many, though, sleep is a low priority. “But you suffer for it the next day,” says Shawn Currie, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Calgary, in Canada. When you do not get enough sleep, you are likely to become more irritable and sometimes even depressed.

“Scientists theorize sleep has a restorative function for the brain, and that learning continues during sleep,” says the Calgary Herald newspaper. Professor Currie notes: “At night you consolidate your memories and any learning that happened during the day gets put into place at night. Not having that period of rest actually impairs learning.” Moreover, he says that “when you get enough sleep, it probably serves some function to stabilize your emotions.”

So, how much sleep is enough? While many experts give eight hours as a general rule, Currie says: “People have different sleep needs.” For that reason, he suggests striving for quality sleep. But how can this be achieved, especially for those with insomnia? Here are some suggestions:

▪ Take a warm bath or shower before bed.

▪ Do moderate exercises several times a week; but do not do strenuous exercises before bedtime.

▪ Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and a bit cool.

▪ Try to get up at the same time every morning so as to establish a regular sleep rhythm.

In view of the observable health benefits, be prudent and put sleep high on your list of priorities.