The Importance of Sleep in both Children and Adults

Sleep is an essential part of our lives. The study of sleep is a recent thing, perhaps only going back as little as the last 50 years. The interest in sleep may have only dawned upon our society because of endless sleep deprivation experiments or because of the high occurrence of sleep related illness or accident in children. It has become increasing apparent that “Poor Sleep Quality” is closely linked to learning difficulties and behavioral problems. What experts have learned is that sleep deprivation or interruptions in one\’s normal sleep patterns causes:

  • Hypertension
  • Lack of concentration
  • Fatigue and tiredness during the daytime
  • Irritability
  • Poor decision making

The long term effects of poor sleep patterns are far more severe and can culminate in long term memory lapses, heart disease, and ultimately premature death. Studies mentioned in a book called I\’m not asleep… but that doesn\’t mean I\’m awake! reveal that it can take twice as long to perform tasks when you are deprived of sleep. There is an alarming correlation between accidents, injury and tiredness. Poor sleep habits can result in further health problems, affecting your immune system as well as your ability to make decisions. Our spiritual well being is undoubtedly linked to sleep. Our circadian rhythm is our internal human clock and it follows a 24 hour pattern plus a few extra minutes. Animals appear to follow the same 24-hour pattern, only minus a few minutes. The circadian rhythm resets each morning by sunlight in both man and nature. Chronotherapy is based on ideas that the effectiveness of medication can be enhanced or reduced as and when it is administered.

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Types of Sleep

We appear to follow a rhythmical pattern as we move between the five known stages of sleep, each appear to have some advantage in renewing our mind and body. – NREM – None Rapid Eye Movement

  • REM – Rapid Eye Movement Sleep

REM sleep appears to interest therapists the most, since during this stage we experience our dreaming evidenced by the movement of our eyes during sleep, other changes include rapid breathing, increase in temperature, fluctuation of heart rates and blood pressure. In Non-REM sleep we appear to spend large amounts of time here, perhaps this is where our body is being totally charged and refreshed? In this state we have a slow and steady breathing pattern with a cooler body temperature than during REM sleep. ## Dreams

The theory of dreams is clouded with issues about interpretations and speculation. The dreams that last longest in our memories are those that occur in the hours just before we awake. ### Young People Really Do Need Sleep

You won\’t be surprised to learn that teenagers need sleep more than any other age group. There are huge amounts of body and brain building assets taking place during the sleeping phase.

  • Less irritable
  • Increased concentration
  • Leaning improvements

Health risks due to poor sleep include:

  • long term memory lapses
  • heart disease
  • blood pressure
  • premature death
  • injury and tiredness

Quotes about Sleep

Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed. – Arthur Schopenhauer.

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