Week focuses on sleep awareness

National Sleep Awareness Week will start March 10 and continue until March 16, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

The theme for this year is “Begin with Sleep,” according to sleepfoundation.org.

The National Sleep Foundation’s goal with this year’s theme is to explain the benefits of getting enough sleep and to expose how sleep can affect personal, family, and professional goals.

During this week, the foundation will provide information using the hashtag “#YourDayBeginsWithSleep” to spread awareness via social media.

There are many reasons why sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) said sleep helps people to be attentive, make decisions, and foster creativity. For children and teens, sleep is important in supporting growth and development. Overall, quality sleep allows people to function properly during the day in addition to keeping people safe from tragic incidents such as car crashes.

There are many sleep disorders, but one of the most common is sleep deficiency or sleep deprivation. Being sleep deficient is the result of not getting enough sleep. However, according to the NHLBI, sleep deficiency can also result from sleeping at the wrong time of day or not sleeping deeply enough.

Being sleep deficient could lead to physical and mental health complications. Some of the physical effects include slower reaction time and a loss of focus on day-to-day activities. The NHLBI website explained that a good indicator of sleep deficiency is when a person begins to doze off after sitting in one place for an extended period of time, such as reading a book, watching TV or driving in a car. The National Sleep Foundation explained that poor sleep quality can increase the chance for a weaker immune system, which leads to low energy throughout the day and greater susceptibility to the cold or flu.

Studies have shown that sleep is essential for intellectual focus and information retention. (Photo from public domain pictures)

There are many ways to stop sleep deficiency. One is to develop a consistent sleeping schedule. According to News in Health, a magazine created by the National Institute of Health, the average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep. The proper amount of sleep allows the body to release certain hormones that assist in regulating body weight, as well as reduce the risk for obesity, heart disease, and infections.

Another way to improve getting enough sleep is to take a nap, according to the NHLBI. A nap can improve alertness and performance, but the NHLBI recommends napping only during early afternoons and for no more than 20 minutes.

While there are more disorders relating to sleep, there are still “70 million Americans of all ages suffering from a chronic sleep problem,” according to News in Health. That being said, it is important for people to understand that sleep is an essential part of life and that getting the proper amount of quality sleep is important on a national scale.

To learn more about ways to get a higher quality of sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website.

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