The one-third of our lives that we spend sleeping, far from being “unproductive,” plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other two-thirds of our lives can be.
When we sleep well, we wake up feeling refreshed and alert for our daily activities. Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis, and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life.
People who get less than six hours of sleep a night are prone to major health problems inculding heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimal health.
Both quantity and quality of sleep are important — if it’s cut short, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. Then we wake up less prepared to concentrate, make decisions, or engage fully in school and social activities.
Roughly 60 million Americans have sleep disorders. There are nearly eighty different kinds, which can affect everyone from the blind to the overweight to shift workers (such as law enforcement, hospital or factory personnel). Insomnia — the chronic inability to sleep or stay asleep — is the most common; Narcolepsy — your nervous system’s inability to coordinate normal sleeping and waking patterns — is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed; Sleep Apnea — involuntary periods of not breathing while you sleep — is potentially the most lethal.
If you constantly have trouble sleeping and/or staying awake when you should be, take action by getting medical help — but make sure your doctor is a sleep health specialist accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Here is where you can find a list of sleep health doctors in New Jersey.