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The Power of Sleep

The Power of Sleep

What are your sleep habits? Do you get enough sleep?

Although it may be hard to believe, humans spend one-third their lives sleeping. The average person sleeps between 7-8 hours a night. It is possible to either get too much sleep (Really?) or not get enough sleep (most common!). Restorative sleep is critical to the maintenance, repair, and overall health of our bodies. Our brains need rest too. With the right amount of sleep, the brain will be able to focus better and have more memory retention.

In a study at Harvard (2007), researchers tracked how a lack of sleep impairs your ability to learn new information. In this study, students volunteered to stay awake for a period of time before viewing images. Students who were awake for 35 hours before viewing the images did on average 40 percent worse remembering the images two days later. Senior study author, Matthew Walker stated. “That’s the difference between acing an exam and failing it. You cannot commit new experiences to memory if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep”(pg. 1).

Caffeine consumption before bed will affect one’s ability to sleep. Drinking caffeine before bed can cause you to stay awake. Eating large meals before bed can also cause you to stake awake. If we consistently fall short of getting needed restorative sleep, we start to build up a sleep void.

Some of the effects of not getting enough sleep are:
1. Having a short attention span
2. Not paying attention
3. Falling asleep after a few seconds
4. Having a hard time focusing

Developing good sleeping habits will get the whole body into a rhythm. This will make it easier to get to sleep and be able to stay asleep. Your body will begin to recognize your sleep pattern and better adjust to it. It is important to have a routine of getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night to feel alert and rested throughout the day.

Sources:
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2007/02/study-shows-importance-of-sleep-for-optimal-memory-functioning/