Along with good nutrition and exercise, ample sleep is essential for good health, yet an estimated 28% of adults don’t get a full night’s rest. Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on cognitive performance, physical ability and quality of life, and safety. Studies have shown a connection between sleep deprivation and weight gain, dulled memory and even life-threatening disease.
Rest allows the lymphatic and immune systems to better repair the body. In addition, a study published in Science Translational Medicine (October 18, 2013) suggests that sleep actually clears the brain of toxins that accumulate when we are awake. Without sleep, we’re not ourselves; emotional IQ and empathy are some of the functions that shut down in sleep-deprived people.
“We all know that diet and exercise are very important for good health. As medical professionals, we still need to get the message across that good quality and adequate sleep are key for optimal health and performance,” said Marta Maczaj, MD, sleep medicine physician, Sleep Disorders Center, St. Charles Hospital.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends at least 10 hours of sleep daily for school-aged children, 9 to 10 for teenagers and 7 to 8 for adults. With more than 100,000 auto accidents in the U.S. attributed to drowsy driving each year, the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project has just launched the “Awake at the Wheel” public education campaign. With initiatives such as this and a greater general awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep, we can all enjoy the best of health.
Speak to a physician if you are having health issues. Visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500 to find one near you.