“Get Some Sleep” – Who Has Time for That? – How getting better rest can improve life now and later

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By J.R Dalton
    Somewhere after crossing the bridge to grown-up independence we walk right into the land of work and responsibility, balancing all of what we want with our future and all of what we have to do right now. With all our time spent and focused toward making a life for ourselves it is a wonder how we even stand at the end of the week. We expend all of our efforts on work, helping family, and entertaining a significant other; for some of us – night class after all of that. There is no time for friends anymore, no time to unwind, but can saying “so long” to sleep actually hinder your best efforts for a future you?
    Although getting up early for work and dashing around town to spend time with friends or a partner can be rewarding, making cuts into your sleep regimen can severely damage other parts of your life. In fact, Harvard Medical University reports that not getting enough sleep can affect your health in many ways that leave your body asking “Why are you so cruel to me?”  Sleep Deprivation has been proven to increase the likelihood of developing diabetes as we well as stunt a teen’s growth. This is because during those oh-so-precious hours of slumber your entire body is actively distributing hormones that promote growth, activating proteins that repair muscle tissue, and reminding your metabolism that it has a job to do with all of those excess carbohydrates. Depriving yourself of the sleep you need in order to preserve the status quo in your social life may actually be social suicide because without getting those necessary hours of sleep your body forgets how to deal with emotions, digesting nutrients, and managing all of your messy and disorganized thoughts effectively, which is a big fire-starter for those prone to illness or overeating.
    Right on the heels of the ever-troublesome Daylight Savings switch, March 12th brought us National Sleep Awareness Week; however, research by the National Sleep Foundation shows that 50 to 70 million Americans suffering from sleep disorders, may have missed out on the celebration. As a matter of fact, the foundation’s latest poll showed an increase in sleep deprivation among the already high percentage of college students and blue collar workers, which is included in the 7 out 10 Americans, not getting enough sleep.  So in a culture fueled by energy drinks, filled with night-owls, and sustained by those too busy to close their eyes, how can we stop the pandemic of constant wake in order to fall back into the arms of our first love, “sleep”? 
    Firstly, go to sleep at the same time daily. Your brain and body both work and rest in cycles, so stay consistent; and if you have trouble actually falling asleep, the Mayo Clinic suggests getting up and doing something until you feel relaxed — “If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.” Second, the process of digesting foods can be the least noticed and yet the most disturbing of things to have going on while you try to sleep so try not to eat late into the PM. Finally, get comfortable.  Personally, I’m hot natured and like to keep my house colder than an igloo but you and your significant other should decide on a setting that relaxes you both. Just don’t make your bedroom so cold that you can’t wake up for work the next day! Have fun catching zz’s and enjoy some sleep, Central.