|Health = Sleep|
In this 8-part series at SparkPeople, you'll learn how to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep by using specific lifestyle changes. Please use this information in conjunction with the medical advice of your health care provider. Today, you'll learn about the importance of sleep.
Difficulty falling (and staying) asleep is a common problem. Nightly sleep for the average American has dropped from 10 hours (before the invention of the light bulb) to 6.9 hours, with a third of adults now getting even less than that! In fact, nearly half of all adults admit they sleep less so they can work (or play) more, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
As an important source of fuel for the body, sleep is a valuable commodity. Surprisingly, what we hear about health usually revolves around exercise and nutrition; the truth about sleep--one of the most important factors to attaining vitality--is often left out of the mix. Research shows that a perpetual lack of sleep can:
- Undermine the body's ability to fight off disease.
- Reduce the quality and quantity of your work
- Mimic the symptoms of impaired glucose tolerance (which can lead to diabetes and hypertension).
- Hinder weight loss and/or cause weight gain
- Impair concentration
- Cause disorientation
- Slow down the body's reaction time
- Increase moodiness and irritation
- Lead to depression
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