Sleep benefits – Sleep is a phenomenon that still puzzles the scientist. The theory of some of them is that the activity of the body produces a certain sleep-producing toxin, of others that a decrease in the blood supply to the brain brings on sleep, of others that waste products accumulating in the blood result in fatigue of the brain cells so that activity gives way to unconsciousness. Fatigue is a condition usually considered to be dangerous. It is a pain caused by the action of toxic products on the nerve centers. Its effects are irritability, nervousness, restlessness, and lowered resistance. Often, both its causes and its effects are mental rather than physical.
Rest or change of activity is the obvious means of preventing fatigue and of alleviating it. If you are tired, you simply rest of do something else for a time, unless there is some good reason for pushing us.
Nor is it entirely desirable that you wait until you are tired. An occasional rest period, say for fifteen minutes in the morning and for fifteen minutes in the middle of the afternoon, if your work is monotonous or tiring, will tend to prevent your feeling fatigue and will promote efficiency. It is notorious that more accidents occur in fatigue periods.
The great builder of energy is sleep, “tired nature’s sweet restorer.” It is through sleep that our stores of vital energy are replenished.
Things happen to us when we sleep: while Rest and Sleep
- Our pulse rate and our blood pressure decrease
- Our breathing is slower and deeper
- The secretions of our glands diminish
- We lose consciousness, although the operation of our subconscious mind goes on
How to Sleep
Of the physiological process we may be hazy, but of the necessity for sleep, we are sure. Sleep is essential to life. Animals deprived of sleep have died of exhaustion. The extreme limit of human endurance without sleep probably is about ten days. The average man of middle age needs about eight hours of sleep out of every twenty-four if he is to be at his best.
Not all sleep is equally restful or intense. In the second and third hours after retiring it is deepest, under normal conditions, and then it grows progressively lighter until we finally waken in the morning. Worry, Noises, Dreams, and physical discomforts detract from sleep’s restfulness and make it less beneficial.
Distractions of any kind are likely to affect it adversely. A friend of mine recently decided it would be pleasant to be soothed to sleep each night by keeping his radio turned on. He kept it low so that the soft strains of a dance orchestra would lull him into unconsciousness at night and the livelier setting-up exercises would rouse him in the morning.
After three night he gave it up; it made him too tired. He got just as many hours of sleep with the radio on, but the music, continuing two hours after he fell to sleep, kept him from sleeping deeply.
Make sure that you have plenty of deep sleep
Preferably, your sleeping hours should be regular, Sleep at night is better than sleep in the daytime. It has been the observation of the writer that night workers on newspapers are more likely to have insomnia than day workers. Sleep before midnight is generally conceded to be more restful than sleep after midnight. If you need to catch up on your sleep it will do you better to go to bed early than it will to sleep late.
Develop regular habits of sleep. If possible, retire at the same hour each night, and arise at the same hour each morning. It should not be necessary for you to have an alarm clock to wake you.