There is a reason why the Bible says “He gives His beloved sweet sleep.” Sweet sleep! Today we will look at the benefits of sleep and the brain, examining why sleep is sweet, and what the effects are on our everyday life.
Noted Professor, Doctor, and author, Dr. James Maas says it best in the book he co-authored entitled: ‘Sleep for Success’. I was particularly impressed by the title of the book; it seems that even though there are only three words in the title, the message is clear. A portion of the book reads as follows:
Most of us are sleep deprived, causing reduced concentration, lowered productivity, poorer quality of work and athletic performance. We also experience an increase in moodiness, stress, accidents, and illness. Our well-being and quality of life is significantly compromised.
This list represents the adverse effects lack of sufficient sleep will have on the human body.
Symptoms of Insufficient Sleep
Heavy eyelids during the afternoon
Sleeping extra hours on weekends
Using caffeine to stay alert
Using an alarm to get out of bed
If you experience any of these symptoms, then that means that you are one of the millions of Americans who are sleep-deprived. We all need to take note of this, because we need to realize that it is a blessing to be able to sleep. It is the time when the body revitalizes itself and performs functions that can only occur when we sleep.
Sleep in babies
As parents, we know how important it is for our babies to sleep. Even if we are not medically inclined, we do know that they seem to grow during the time they are asleep. So sleep time is important for them. We also notice that when they become drowsy they tend to become cranky, and this can irritate a caregiver. Experts say that when babies struggle with going to sleep it is because they have been overstimulated.
Sometimes they become overstimulated because of vigorous play close to nap or bed time, or because there has been big changes in their routine, or perhaps they are in a crowd. This excitement causes the brain to release chemicals into their bodies, and brings about this reaction.
Prior to doing my research, I must admit that I wondered why my grand-baby fussed so much when he wanted to sleep. I even thought that it was because he missed his mother. We must ease up on the play and keep things calm. I find that soft music and a rocking motion usually gets the job done. Do you use any other solutions?
Sleep in Children
I think many parents overlook the importance of sleep for their children. Similar to babies, children should not be overstimulated prior to bedtime. From my own experience, I know that it is necessary to “force” children into their bed, if not they would stay up all night.
However, if you want your children and grandchildren to perform at their peak at school, or at play, they need to be fully alert, energetic, in a good mood, and cognitively sharp. Sleep promotes good academic and athletic performance.
A good bedtime story is very appropriate especially for small children.
Sleep in Adults
Recent medical research proves that sleep deprivation literally “makes you stupid, clumsy, stressed out, unhealthy, and will shorten your life. You must be able to concentrate, remember, have great reaction time, make critical and creative decisions, communicate persuasively, and be productive all day long.”
I do not need to elaborate on this statement given by the experts, because both you and I can attest to its truth.
Sleep in Elderly
As adults get older, sleep becomes even more important because it helps to improve their (our) concentration and memory. Doctors say that a good night’s sleep allows the body to repair any cell damage if any, and refreshes the immune system. These two factors help to prevent disease and promote longevity.
This is a short overview of how sleep or lack of sleep affects the brain. Don’t skimp on a good night’s sleep either for yourself or for your children. Sleep on It…and you will find greater creativity, less stress, and an overall better quality of life.
In my next blog, I will give you suggestions for improved sleep.
Sleep on It!