The Single Thing You Can Do For A Safer, Happier Holiday
The holiday season is that time of year when we are tempted to overeat, go to bed later and wake up earlier. It seems that we have twice as much to do and half the time to do it. Here are four reason why it is more important than ever to get at least eight hours of sleep.
Adequate sleep improves the immune system. Studies now suggest that adequate sleep impedes bacterial growth. For the average person, this would be at least eight hours. For children it is nine to ten hours of sleep, a night. We know that if we catch a cold or flu we are advised to get plenty of rest. Although REM sleep is only twenty percent of our sleep, a night, it is the part of sleep that restores our energy system. When we cut short the amount of sleep necessary, we are shorting ourselves on REM sleep. Lack of sleep makes us more vulnerable to infection.
More sleep helps handle stress. When we get an adequate amount of sleep, we wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the problems of the day. To be in a positive frame of mind, sleep is as essential to our well being as healthy eating and exercise.
Sleep plays a factor in minimizing weight gain. Scientists have found a correlation between adequate sleep and the hormones that regulate appetite. Sleep deprivation increases the level of the hormone that signals hunger and decreases the level of the hormone which sends a signal to our brain that we are full. Many Americans who are sleep deprived are also overweight. New evidence suggests that getting enough sleep is critical to maintaining a healthy weight.
Adequate sleep is necessary for safe driving. During the holidays, when traffic is more congested and road conditions are not always at their best, it is important to stay alert and drive defensively. The Department of Transportation has published several reports on the effects of sleep deprivation and traffic accidents. Research shows that sleepiness is responsible for twenty percent of traffic accidents.
Even though we may be tempted to stay awake and watch TV or read a book, it is important to try and go to sleep at an earlier hour. Sleep is our body?s way of rejuvenating itself. Less than adequate sleep can also cause irritability, mood swings and memory deficits. While it is important to get adequate sleep all year round it is essential during the holiday season, when we are more likely to cut back on sleep so that we can accomplish everything we feel we need to. This holiday season, try and get adequate sleep. You may find yourself enjoying the season more.
About the Author: Constance Weygandt is an author, speaker and balance mentor. For more information on family concerns, visit her website at http://www.balancedwellnessonline.com