Today our guest blogger is +Elizabeth Lotts writer for Vitacost.com
Sleep is an interesting paradox. Some people treasure their nightly eight hours, while others treat it like a guilty pleasure, enjoyed only in small “dozes.” As sleep deprivation becomes the norm, it’s rationalized by notions like, “I’ll sleep in tomorrow to catch up.” It’s time to quit dreaming and open your eyes to the importance of a good night’s sleep.
The Dream: “I’m out like a light.”
Reality: Ironically, the body is not completely inactive during sleep. It’s true that muscles in the limbs become temporarily paralyzed; but eyelids are jerking rapidly, heart rate increases and breathing becomes shallow. You may feel “dead to the world” or “out like a light,” but your brain technically is still turned on.
The Dream: “I can catch up on sleep this weekend.”
Reality: The body needs adequate, consistent rest in order to maintain a healthy immune system. Sleep is not like a savings account – you can’t add more when you have time. Sleeping until 2 p.m. on Sunday throws the balance of your circadian rhythm (internal clock), which throws off your mental and physical fitness. Stop running on the hamster wheel and start a routine of balanced sleep, healthy eating and regular exercise.
The Dream: “My body can adjust to sleeping during the day.”
Reality: A grave-shift worker may be able to coax his body to adjust, but his brain knows best. At night, the eyes send a signal to the brain that there is less light, and the internal clock will produce more melatonin to induce sleepiness. Sleeping after sunrise does not generate enough melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep – and stay asleep.
The Dream: “I function better on less sleep.”
Reality: Sleep deprivation negatively affects the areas of the brain associated with motivation and desire. A sleep-deprived brain will seek food as a reward, because food is the most accessible treat, leading to weight gain. Lack of sleep has also been linked to depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.
The Dream: “I never dream.”
Reality: We sleep in stages: stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, and the fifth stage is rapid eye movement (REM). The brain cycles through these five stages over and over throughout the night, with REM being the deep sleep and dreams stage. Any time the brain reaches REM, you dream – if you don’t remember them, then that’s your own reality.
This article has been provided by the folks at Vitacost.com. Vitacost.com has been selling discount vitamins and supplements since 1994. Since then it’s grown into one of the biggest online marketplaces for healthy living essentials-with vitamins and supplements being just one of their many helpful categories! Get the best price on vitamins, probiotics, nutritional supplements, whole foods and diet products. Vitacost.com’s customers mean the world to them, and it’s their goal to provide you with the best nutritional supplements, natural foods and sports nutrition to help with your health and wellness. Please check out the Vitacost Coupons page for great deals and discounts. Vitacost.com is not affiliated with this blog, and isn’t responsible for content outside of this article.
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net