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The Importance of Sleep in a Hectic Society

Today marks the beginning of National Sleep Awareness Week (March 2-9), a yearly awareness event devoted to promoting the importance of sleep. The week is sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation and culminates with Daylight Savings Time, in which we in the United States lose an hour of sleep. Since many of our products are designed with sleeping and resting comfort in mind, we thought we’d join in and discuss how crucial a full night’s sleep is to our happiness, health, and well-being. With the demands of work, family, school, and other demands, it’s tempting to forego a few hours of sleep a night to get things done. However, giving up a regular, healthy sleep pattern may actually hurt your ability to be a productive, healthy person. The physical and psychological benefits of sleep are well documented – during a full night’s sleep, our body is actively recovering from the day and preparing ourselves for the next one. The body goes through processes that repair our muscles, organize and store our memories, and release hormones that control appetite and our internal clock. In fact, studies have shown that it’s important to get a full night’s sleep after learning something to properly process and retain that information. Not only does skipping out on sleep deprive us of this process, it makes the next day harder. You’ve probably noticed you feel sluggish at work after staying up late. When you’re tired, you can’t function as well. Your cognitive functions, including reasoning and attention to detail, suffer after a poor night’s sleep. So while you were up working until midnight, you probably thought you were getting a lot done, but you’re actually digging into your reserves of energy and alertness the next day, causing you to work slower and make more mistakes. To make up for these mistakes and slower work habits, you may have to end up working late the next night, causing an unhealthy cycle that is more stressful and inconvenient than it needs to be! We can’t always avoid late night study sessions or work nights – but as much as possible, it’s important to have a routine of a full night’s healthy sleep to process the previous day and prepare ourselves for the next one. How much sleep should you actually be getting? This actually varies depending on many factors: age, prior sleeping habits, health conditions, and more. Check back next week when we discuss how much sleep is enough sleep for you.
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