May You Rest and Sleep
Did you know that a third of your life is spent sleeping? And did you know that the amount of energy saved every time you sleep is so unsubstantial? Getting the regular eight hours of sleep only amounts to about 50 kilocalories, or what is equivalent to the energy that can be had for eating a piece of toast. If that is the case, what then is the fuss about getting enough sleep for our body to have a chance to recharge and recuperate from its daily activities?
“Why do we sleep?” is a question that has eluded many scientists and researchers. They still cannot give a definite answer as to why we sleep. All they could offer is that sleep is essential in maintaining our brains’ normal and healthy function. We have to sleep to develop normal levels of cognitive skills such as speech, memory, and innovative and flexible thinking.
A better way to understand the significance of sleep would be to ask, “What happens if we don’t sleep?” We can come up with several answers to this question based on our very own experiences.
Lack of Sleep
Most people exhibit unpleasant behavior such as being sluggish, irritable, moody, and forgetful when they don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep has severe effects on our brain functions. Sleep deprivation results in the inability to focus and concentrate or having a shorter attention span than when we are fully rested. Inadequacy of sleep impairs certain parts of the brain responsible for controlling our cognitive functions, our ability to respond to stimuli, in making decisions and rational judgments.
But lack of sleep is not only a matter of having an “off day,” being irritable, or lacking energy.
Who would have thought that lack of sleep could contribute to several disastrous events such as the Chornobyl Nuclear Tragedy and the Challenger Shuttle Explosion?
When taken to the extreme, sleep deprivation can lead to human error and catastrophic consequences.
Sleep deprivation weakens or slows down our cognitive functions. As a result, it poses severe risks to our mental, emotional and physical health.
But what causes lack of sleep in the first place?
Disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea have been the leading causes of sleep deprivation. In addition, these conditions have been associated with stress, obesity, and high blood pressure.
Due to the severe consequences of sleep deprivation, equally challenging thought should be given to the need to manage our sleeping habits and the various factors influencing our bedtime behavior. Once you have exhausted all means and tips to get a good night’s sleep, such as avoiding caffeine and daytime naps or relaxing before bedtime — you may need to take another step, this time, towards the option of medication. If sleep remains elusive despite the dozens of techniques you’ve used, taking sleeping pills may already be a good option for you to consider. Sleeping pills are sedative drugs used to relieve anxiety, stress, depression, and even muscle tension by slowing down the central nervous system. This medication is nothing new and dates back many centuries when opiate laudanum, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and non-benzodiazepines were introduced. There are several over-the-counter sleeping pills available on the market. These medications may not carry the same drug dependency, and sleeping pill overdose risks as other products released decades ago. However, certain medical conditions such as liver and kidney problems may have adverse reactions to the current crop of sleep-inducing drugs. In addition, frequency of use may influence the effectiveness of the medication. Therefore, caution and proper consultation with a physician are strongly advised. Some side effects of sleeping pills are dizziness and prolonged drowsiness. It may also cause dry mouth, severe allergic reaction, facial swelling, lightheadedness, abdominal pain, rash, nausea, vomiting, depression, reduced interest in sex, chest pain, sleep-driving, over-eating, blurred vision, and low blood pressure.
All of us deserve to find quality rest that only sleep can provide. The easiest way to start getting that rest is by sticking to a regular sleeping habit and practicing a healthy lifestyle. Living a good life is not just about the fun and excitement of activities done while you are awake. Living a good life also means having enough time in the sack.