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10 Reasons to Make Sleep a Priority This Year

Like every new parent, you’ve probably heard the usual jargon spoken about sleep and babies.  Some well-meaning soul has likely told you that parenting and exhaustion are synonymous.  Maybe someone has given you a shoulder shrug and reminded you that this is how life is when you have small children.  Even worse, perhaps someone has even judged you as indulgent, selfish or, the ultimate of insults, a bad parent because you want more sleep.

Somehow we have come to find ourselves living in a world where busy equals important and sleep is only for the faint of heart.  Our world has become a place where sleep is placed on the bottom of our never-ending to do lists.  The Certified Child Sleep Consultants at SleepWell Baby are so passionate about what we do because we know how important sleep is to both you and your child.  Sleep is not an indulgence. Sleep is a basic human need. It is critical to the development of a healthy child and family.

An article recently appeared in the Huffington Post in which the author gathered information from various studies regarding sleep and health.  The writer, Laura Schocker, paints a startling picture of the health risks associated with too little zzz’z in her piece Here’s A Horrifying Picture of What Sleep Loss Will Do To You.  Numerous studies have shown that people who are well rested are healthier both physically and mentally.  As we begin this New Year, why not make sleep a priority for everyone in your family?  Here are 10 reasons why you need to put sleep on your to do list this year:

  1. If you’re spending a regular 8 hours a night between the sheets you are less likely to catch a cold.  This is because as you sleep your body releases the proteins that reduce infection and inflammation.
  2. A recent study suggests that skipping out on sleep for even one night is linked to the loss of brain tissue.
  3. Middle-aged and older adults who are well-rested are four times less likely to experience stroke symptoms than their sleep deprived peers.
  4. There is a link between sleepless nights and obesity.  The less you sleep the more likely you are to become obese over time.
  5. Well rested people are less likely to develop some types of cancers.  Links have been found between sleep deprivation, colon cancer and aggressive breast cancers.
  6. Getting enough sleep reduces your risk of both diabetes and heart disease.
  7. Men who don’t get enough shut eye are more likely to experience decreased fertility.
  8. A study using MRI technology showed that people who were lacking in sleep had emotional brain functioning that was more reactive.  The tired subjects responded in a reactive way to emotional experiences rather than being able to respond in a more controlled, appropriate way.
  9. Shortchanging your slumber affects memory consolidation, which makes learning new things more difficult.  Not to mention that drowsiness causes inattention and forgetfulness.
  10. If you get six hours or less a night you are three times more likely to be in a car accident.  You are clumsier as you drive and your eye-steering coordination is affected.

And if a list of obvious physical and mental health concerns isn’t enough to convince you that sleep is important, answer these questions: Are you and your family living to your full potential in a sleep deprived state?  Are you able to be the person, parent, partner and friend you want to be?

Resolve to live a healthier life this year.  Put it on the to do list.  Make sleep a priority for your family.

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To access the specific studies noted in this post, read Laura’s article here.

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Image courtesy of photostock/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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