Sleep: Wealth or Waste?
Sleep has been a controversial subject for longer than we can remember.
It suffers some negative connotations, having been associated with laziness, idleness, boredom and a passive, inactive disposition.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Science has now confirmed that sleep is one of the three attributes of good health, the other two being right food and exercise. Sleep is critical to our total well being. Sleep helps us feel healthier and think sharper. Good sleep translates into good health and, in turn, a better quality of life.
What happens when you sleep?
You may be sleeping, but your mind and body aren’t. Your mind, for instance, gets a break which it uses to assimilate what you understood in the day and transforms it into memory. Sleep is also when your mind brushes up your repetitive skills, like swimming or playing the piano.
Your body, on the other hand, gets down to some serious overhauling. Your muscles get energized, your organs get renewed vigor, and your old cells get replaced by new ones. This brings us to the most important function of sleep: Rejuvenation. It’s this restorative quality about sleep which makes it irreplaceable.
What happens when you cheat on sleep?
You add up what’s called a sleep debt. And it’s not like a bank overdraft where you borrow a little each time and pay it up at one go. Contrary to widely held beliefs, sleep loss accumulated over the week can’t be made up by oversleeping in the weekend. If anything, it results in further complications in your health.
Sleep loss leads to higher stress, shorter temper, lower motivation, slower reflexes and inattentiveness.
Chronic sleep deprivations could be insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome, and need a doctor’s intervention.