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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Amazing Truths About Sleep

Belittling the power of sleep? Think again!

Amazing Truths about Sleep

Sleep is the best meditation by Dalai Lama

Sleep is essential in maintaining overall well-being. Yet, many underestimate this fact. People think that lack of sleep would not make a difference in their physiological bodies and mental performance. But the truth is - completing the hours of sleep required by the body for healing can have a great impact on the speed and ability of a person to function the next day.

The following are interesting facts about sleep:

1. Humans spend about 1/3 of their lives asleep.

2. Newborns need about 16 to 20 hours of sleep per day to develop normally.

3. During adolescence stage, the body clock keeps most teens from feeling sleepy until 10 pm or later.

4. Adults who do not get enough sleep tend to act sluggish; however, sleep-deprived children may be hyperactive.

5. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.

6. During a full night of sleep, most adults go through four to six sleep cycles. Each cycle lasts for about 90 to 110 minutes.

7. During the stage of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, your limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed to prevent you from acting out your dreams.

8. Adults need approximately 8 hours of sleep per night and spend 20% of that time in REM sleep.

9. It is a common misconception that older people need less sleep. They need approximately the same amount of sleep as then they were younger. However, older people do have a tendency to sleep lighter and to sleep for shorter periods of time.

10. It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorder.

11. People with untreated sleep apnea have a higher rate of death due to heart disease.

12. Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, affecting about 30 percent of adults.

13. For every time zone that one crosses during a flight, it takes about one day for the body to adjust.

The Importance of Sleep

During sleep, the pineal gland and the hypothalamus in the brain stimulate the secretion of melatonin, human growth hormone, and other substances that allow the body to rebuild muscle tissues and put the neurotransmitter receptors to rest. From these two basic functions of sleep spring the long list of preventive and restorative health benefits.

* In newborns, REM sleep helps develop the central nervous system.

* It enables the body to repair itself and regenerate.

* It helps the brain organize and store memories.

* It restores the body’s energy.

* It reduces risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and anxiety.

* It allows the brain to recharge.

The Brain and Sleep

Adenosine is a nucleoside composed of a molecule of adenine attached to a ribose sugar molecule which passes signals to the brain when the body needs rest. It is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, believed to play a role in promoting sleep and suppressing arousal.

Adenosine triphospate (ATP) releases energy to fuel reactions. With each burst of energy, ATP loses it triphospate molecule, and the adenosine binds to receptors. Rising levels of adenosine signal to the brain that the body needs rest. A person needs to get the proper amount of sleep (7 to 8 hours) daily in order to function well. It is directly related to the body’s physiological functions, emotional balance, and mental performance.

Courtesy - India-Herbs

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