Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

March 22, 2010 7:05 PM

GO TO SLEEP! (Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease :-) )

It's about 10:32 and 30 seconds p.m. You are in the living room laying comfortably with your Snuggie. Of course on the television is the latest popular teenage flick and you are enjoying it thoroughly. As you bite the last morsel of your chocolate chip cookie and drink the last drop of your milk.... You hear footsteps approach you as a shadowy figure appears....

It's your nagging parent telling you to GO TO SLEEP! OH NO! It seems this time they're serious... Off goes the television as your Snuggie is drenched with dishwater from your milk mug. You slouch and walk lazily to your room, head hanging low in disgust of another ruined night. Should you really be angry at you mom or dad?

According to the Harvard Health Publications, a recent survey found that more people are sleeping less than six hours a night, and sleep difficulties visit 75% of us at least a few nights per week. A short-lived bout of insomnia is generally nothing to worry about. The bigger concern is chronic sleep loss, which can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the immune system’s power, reports the Harvard Health Watch.

While more research is needed to explore the links between chronic sleep loss and health, it’s safe to say that sleep is too important to shortchange.

The Harvard Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:

1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.

2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.

4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.

5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension,
increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.

6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

So you shouldn't be angry next time! Sleep is very important! There are infinite ways to which sleep can encourage a healthy life. There are six listed above. Imagine what would happen if you suffered negative effects of each of those.... The site wouldn't be pretty. Enjoy yourself and catch some ZZZZZZZZZs.


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