The benefits of sleep

Not getting enough sleep? It’s easy to make eight hours of sleep a low priority. Many things stand between us and an REM cycle: kids, work, school, insomnia, travel, stress, Facebook and video games. In today’s high stimulus and fast-paced society, it’s common to feel sleep deprived when the alarm goes off. Insufficient sleep leaves our minds and bodies underperforming. Science has yet to discover a clear discernible reason for why we spend a third of our lives sleeping.  This article will briefly explain what we do know about sleep that might make a restful nights a priority.  First, let’s answer the question of how many hours of sleep we need a night. The following data comes from the Mayo Clinic’s website:

Age group
Recommended amount of sleep
Infants
9-10 hours at night, plus 3 or more hours of naps
Toddlers
9-10 hours at night, plus 2-3 hours of naps
School-age children
9-11 hours
Adults
7-8 hours

In addition to making us kinder to our loved ones, more patient on the highway, and more productive at work, sleep is imperative for our memory, learning, immune function, and metabolism, and other critical functions. Sleep releases critical hormones, as well as giving our body the chance to detox and rebuild. The following characteristics of sleep have come from the website hosted by the Division of Sleep Medicine of Harvard Medical School.

One theory for why we sleep, is that it is a time to "restore" the body. According to the Harvard sponsored website,  “Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself...animals deprived entirely of sleep lose all immune function and die in just a matter of weeks.” Sleep research has found that muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur during sleep, and sometimes only during sleep.
Sleep also helps rejuvenate the brain. While we are awake the brain has a build-up of adenosine, a by-product of the cells' activities. This build-up is hypothesized as a cause for tiredness, which creates our desire to sleep. Adenosine continues to accumulate while we are awake, and when we are sleeping its is cleared from the brain.
Recent research about cognitive functions shed more light on the phenomenon of sleep. Brain plasticity and sleep are interconnected. According to the Harvard website, “sleep plays a critical role in brain development in infants and young children. Infants spend about 13 to 14 hours per day sleeping, and about half of that time is spent in REM sleep, the stage in which most dreams occur. A link between sleep and brain plasticity is becoming clear in adults as well. This is seen in the effect that sleep and sleep deprivation have on people's ability to learn and perform a variety of tasks.”
Still not convinced that sleep is a backbone to optimal health?
Let’s explore what the Mayo Clinic tells us about sleep. Some say they feel restored after a few hours of sleep. However, research indicates that little sleep over many consecutive nights causes individuals to perform weaker on complex mental tasks than those have around seven hours of sleep a night.  Moreover,  studies show that “getting less or much more than seven hours of sleep a night is associated with a higher mortality rate.”

Kay’s Naturals strives to promote healthy lifestyles, and we would like to support you in your health and wellness goals. We assist individuals to eat well by supplying gluten-free, protein-rich, blood-sugar stabilizing snacks and cereals. Our snacks and cereals are affordable and convenient- so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time in bed.

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