Tuesday, April 5, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Don't Skimp on Sleep

For many years sleep has not gotten the attention it deserves. We all sleep, but it seems like most people are looking for ways to sleep less. A popular trend these days are alternative sleep cycles. The idea behind these different sleep patterns is to cut down on unnecessary sleep and maximize your time awake.

I think sleep gets a bad wrap because we don't really realize how important good sleep is. It's easy to think of sleep as a waste of time because it takes a lot of time, and we cruise through it unconsciously. It's no wonder that cutting down on sleep seems like a good idea.

The problem with cutting down on sleep is that sleeping has many surprising benefits beyond just getting rested

The more attention sleep is getting from researchers, the more amazing facts about why we sleep and why it is important are discovered. It makes sense intuitively that sleep is good. Anyone can relate to how great it feels to get a full nights good sleep and wake up in the morning at your own leisure. Great sleep makes you feel great, but the positive effects of sleep go way beyond that.

More and more evidence is emerging that points to sleep being crucial for our complicated minds to make sense and order out of all the information we take in during the day. It is well known that sleep plays an important role in forming memories, but the research also shows that sleep is important in processing learned information. Seems like a good explanation for why children who get adequate sleep perform better in school than children who are sleep deprived.

Getting proper amounts of sleep is important for learning and memory, but has positive effects on many more mental properties. Good sleep is related to increased focus, better creativity and better stress handling.

Sleep is obviously important for the mind, but there are also surprising physical benefits of sleep. One hugely important connection is that poor sleep quality increases the level of inflammation in the body. Reducing inflammation is incredibly important as chronic inflammations is a prerequisite for many of the lifestyle diseases we struggle with today.

The case for sleep is already strong, but the list of great benefits keeps going on and on. Dieters who get ample sleep lose more body fat than those who get too little sleep. Lack of sleep was recently linked to teenage depression. Athletes perform better when sleeping more and sleep has a positive effect on the risk of many different illnesses.

Sleeping is one of your best weapons in the fight for supreme health. It's free, feels great and is extremely healthy. If you find yourself trying to cut down on sleep to have more time to be productive you are paying too high a price. If your schedule is so cramped that you can't invest a good 8 hours a day to solid sleep it is time to simplify your life. Managing your time better is a much better investment that cutting into your supply of life giving sleep.

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