Sleep Benefits for the Mind, Body and Spirit
Decades ago, people got more sleep and had fewer health problems. The sleep problem in America has been described as an epidemic by some experts, and it is hard to disagree. In 1900, the average adult slept about nine hours per day, this is mostly because light after dark was scarce and TV was nonexistent. Now fast forward, to when light and electricity are ubiquitous and we have over 1,000 channels with 24 hour-a-day programming. More than 70 percent of Americans are not meeting the average recommended 8 hours of sleep they need. The average American gets about seven hours of sleep per night, much less than the recommended eight hours, which can lead to all sorts of health and psychological problems. Let’s look at the effects on the mind, body and soul.
Sleep Deprivation Effects on the Mind
Lack of sleep and different sleep disorders can cause depression and make depression worse. According to a 2005 Sleep in America poll, people who were clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours a night. Sleepiness also makes you forgetful and affects the ability to learn new things, and remember things you have already learned or saw.
Sleep Deprivation Effects on the Body
Chronic sleep loss can lead to many physical problems and diseases. Some of these are cosmetic, some are health related, and none of them are good:
- Obesity/weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loose, saggy skin
In addition, at night, Melatonin hormones are produced. They are believed to fight off cancer. It may seem like some research is anecdotal, and there could be other factors that lead to higher cancer rates for people who get less sleep – but consider this: blind women get more sleep than women with sight, and blind women have HALF as many cases of breast cancer. That is pretty telling in itself, and should make you want to take steps to get exposed to less light at night, and to go to bed earlier.
Sleep Deprivation Effects on the Soul
Anyone who has went a few days on limited sleep (or even one night) can tell you they are not feeling 100% and are feeling run down. Now imagine that you are not getting enough sleep, every night, for months or years. You will not notice as big of a difference as you would, say notice with getting a lot less sleep one night. This difference would be almost in-perceivable, and this sluggishness may just become a “normal” for you. It can be really draining for the spirit and soul to be mentally and physically tired all the time, even if it is just a little bit.
So, take some time for yourself. If you are getting less than eight hours of sleep a night, go to bed an hour earlier every day for a week; you will feel better and be doing yourself a world of good, for your mind, body and soul.
To your health!