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Sleep Deficit Self-Help Advice

Written by Paul Wolf

Advice on why we need more sleep. Your body and mood will tell you if you're getting enough sleep.

You're getting sleepy, very sleepy. If it's the middle of the day, you could be up to your eyeballs in sleep debt.
 
Let's say your optimal amount of sleep per night is eight hours, but you get only six hours for five nights running. Your sleep debt is 10 hours.

Some people think it's three or four. They're wrong, Dement says. It takes more than one full night's sleep to shake off the fatigue.

We've all experienced the obvious side effects of lack of sleep: a decrease in mental and physical performance, a loss of alertness. But Dement says adequate sleep is also critical for:

  • Motivation: The ability to focus plays a role in generating interest. Lack of focus creates apathy.
  • Longevity: Although sleep research is a relatively new field, studies going back to the 1950s match abundant sleep with longevity. However this research is inconclusive.
  • Wellness: The need to sleep when you are sick is no coincidence. Immune activity, cell repair function and growth hormone all increase during sleep.
  • Well-being: Dr. Dement says it is not so much that good sleep bestows a good mood; rather, lack of sleep wrecks the chances of one.

Consider this your wake-up call: Better health and happiness may be a few good nights' sleep away.

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Photographer: Mark Bond





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