By: Dr. Trevor Tew
Alaskans live in the land of the midnight sun; which means long, bright, summer days, and nights. It's likely that you will go to sleep later than your body would like. With neighborhood kids playing tirelessly, while us adults are doing our best to get all those weekly chores done, the time can quickly sneak up on you. You look at the clock and it's already 9:45. On this week's wellness Wednesday, we're going to dive into the importance that comes alongside a good nights’ rest.
Ability to effect social interactions and productivity- Most people realize they are cognitively impaired when they are not well rested. When our sleep suffers, so do our relationships. When one person doesn't get the correct amount of sleep, it can causes our empathy levels to decline. When this occurs, we are less likely to effectively engage in conflict resolution. When exhaustion occurs the brain has difficulties depicting facial expressions of the people around us, seeing many of the expressions as a threat. Without the proper amount of sleep, we tend to avoid social interactions which can then lead to more problems down the road.
Improves concentration- When we allow our bodies the correct amount of sleep, we recover from distractions easier. The human body then has the ability to maintain concentrating on important tasks in our daily lives. This also increases our reaction time and ability to make accurate, split-second decisions by about 4%. When suffering sleep deprivation, our response time can be up to 50% slower than when we get the proper amount of sleep.
Replenishing hours for our bodies- Sleep is our time to replenish the body and mind. When we allow our bodies to get a good nights’ rest, it has the ability to refresh our cells and clear out the waste generated by metabolic functions. Sleep is the time our minds are able to file away short term memories and turn them into long term memories. Additionally, it's a time for the body to keep our immune system as strong as necessary. Our bodies need sleep to replenish our cells and tissues so we can perform at our best.
Reveling in the long days brings an abundance of joy to each one of us, but we can't let the importance of a good sleep schedule slip our minds. If falling asleep is the issue, start by finding yourself a set of blackout curtains to ensure the best possible nights' sleep. Along with diet and exercise, sleep is essential for our bodies health.