Sleep is one of those things most people take for granted. From the young child who wants to stay awake to play with his toys; to the adult who chooses to stay awake, so he can hang out with friends, although he has worked late all week. Getting a good night sleep is one of those things most people feel they can do without.
But having been on the other end of the spectrum (difficulty sleeping), I know that the ability to rest is essential to one’s behavior and state of mind. After taking an afternoon nap today, I felt recharged and ready to tackle the rest of the day. However, for some reason this nap was a little different. I paused to think about the importance of sleep, and how good a little rest (nap) makes me feel.
What is sleep? The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines sleep as the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which bodily powers are restored.
Sometimes, you might think you cannot afford to rest, too many things to do. However, when it comes to sleep, you really can’t afford not to. Studies show that most adults, including elderly, need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Younger people (adolescents and school- age children) need even more hours of rest.
In an article entitled, “The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Brain and Behavior”, by S. L., the effects of sleep deprivation on behavior were tested with relation to the presence of activity in different sections of the cerebral cortex. The research showed “… (1). sleep is needed to regenerate certain parts of the body, especially the brain, so that it may continue to function optimally”. (2). Certain stages of sleep are needed for the regeneration of neurons within the cerebral cortex while other stages of sleep seem to be used for forming new memories… “.
Furthermore, they concluded “without sleep our brains deteriorate, and if the argument that brain=behavior is true, then our behavior will also suffer accordingly”. Rest affects your mood, energy, and ability to handle everyday pressures of life. Getting the right amount of sleep is as important as diet and exercise to your health and wellbeing. The ability to rest is truly a blessing in more ways than one.