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Is your sleep the best it can be?

How many times have you woken up, just wishing you had some extra time to sleep!

What is the appropriate time to sleep each night?

Is it the same for adults and children?

What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?

Read on friends, to find the answer to these questions.

First I think we should answer how much sleep should we be getting, what is the normal amount of sleep? What everyone has always heard is around 7 to 8 hours. Some scientists wanted to find out if this was truly the case so they devised a study to see how much sleep we normally get in the absence of technology, so the participants of the study were away from artificial light, technology, coffee and anything that would alter their sleep.

They found that the time people wake up was not affected that much, but the time we went to sleep changed drastically. Without the luxuries of a Western lifestyle, people went to bed around 9:30pm. The “natural” amount of sleep that the participants had was 7 hours 12 minutes versus 5 hours 42 minutes before the study. So this study is telling us that people “naturally” get and need just over 7 hours of sleep (coinciding with what is recommended). The good news is that the average Canadian gets about 7 hours of sleep, but the bad news is that this means about half of Canadians get less than what is recommended!

The time of sleep also changes with age. Newborns normally get about 16 hours of sleep, and that’s mainly because we don’t wake them up and just let them sleep (because only a crazy person would purposefully wake up a newborn!). Preschoolers need about 11 hours, school aged children about 10 hours and teens about 9 hours. Are your children getting enough?

How lack of sleep affects us

Lack of sleep affects the body in many ways! People with less sleep tend to be more sensitive to pain, and at the same time, treatment for pain is less effective on them. DOUBLE WHAMMY! Lack of sleep has also been linked to increased rates of obesity and diabetes, and those have a slew of problems associated with them. People with less sleep are also much less alert and this is the cause of thousands of car accidents and workplace accidents each and every day!

Similarly, studies show that children and students with little sleep were less likely to believe in themselves and less likely to choose more challenging tasks if given the option. Additionally, lack of sleep has been directly linked to decreased academic performance. So maybe all your son or daughter needs to do to get that A is sleep an extra hour or two!

So these are all the negatives associated with sleep....check with us soon to find out how you can make sure you’re getting enough sleep!

Click here for part II of this blog post to find out how you can improve your sleep!

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