Importance of Sleep
by Patrick Austin
Austin is a freelance writer who covers sports and health
for a number of web sites including RealGM.com, Hoopsworld.com,
and Fanstop.com. He currently also covers entertainment and
sports for Vainquer magazine.
Sleep is vital to our health and well being. Unfortunately, people
seem to ignore the importance of sleep and millions of us are
cutting ourselves short on the amount of sleep that we get, opening
ourselves up to a whole host of problems.
The importance of sleep is profound. If you do not get the recommended
eight hours of sleep a night, you can spend your day lethargic,
irritable, and lack concentration while performing important tasks.
More than forty percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness
severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least
a few days each month. In addition, twenty percent report have
problems sleeping at least a few days in the week. People must
understand the importance of sleep and how it affects their bodies.
You are more susceptible to illnesses if you do not get enough
Over forty million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, yet
more than sixty percent of adults have never been asked about
the quality of their sleep by a physician and fewer than twenty
percent ever initiated a discussion.
Poor sleep has a price. Millions of individuals struggle to stay
alert at home, in school, on the job - and on the road. Tragically,
fatigue contributes to more than 100,000 highway crashes, causing
over 71,000 injuries and more than 1,500 deaths each year in the
United States alone. As you can see, the importance of sleep is
bigger than you might have imagined.
Studies suggest that chronic sleep loss is a risk factor for
diabetes. In recent years, several laboratories have begun to
study markers of health in volunteers in whom sleep was restricted.
These studies showed that sleep loss has an adverse effect on
our ability to metabolize sugar. In one week of severe sleep deprivationsuch
as four to five hours per nighta healthy, lean, fit volunteer
fell into a prediabetic state.
The importance of sleep can be correlated to weight gain and
obesity aswell. There have been studies that show an increase
in hunger and appetite and profound alterations in hormones that
regulate hunger and appetite with a lack of sleep. When you're
sleep-deprived, you may overeat well in excess of the caloric
The immune system is markedly affected by sleep loss. The response
to the flu vaccine is affected by the amount of sleep that you
have during the days prior to vaccination. The amount of antibody
that you build against the flu may be affected by as much as fifty
percent if you have not had enough sleep when you are immunized.
As you can see, the importance of sleep plays a direct role in
our overall health. If you do not get enough sleep you are hurting
your body and putting yourself at a bigger risk of getting diseases
and other health problems.