725-867-8495 WWW.ASKEROTHLAW.COM APRIL 2020 SLEEPYOUR WAYTO A HEALTHIER LIFE
‘WHYWE SLEEP’ Walker explains that sleep nourishes the mind and body in a lot of different ways. Sleep increases your ability to learn and obtain information and improves the way your brain can retain what you’ve experienced during the previous day. Deep sleep results in the production of neurochemicals that bathe your brain during sleep, which clean out the “gunk” that builds up in your brain cells throughout the day. This neurochemical bath only happens during deep sleep. Sleep also strengthens and improves the immune system and can help you resist disease and the effects of old age. Even your dreams perform an important function. Dreaming helps your brain work out problems through abstract thought and promotes creativity (I keep a notepad by my bed because some of my best ideas have come during the night while dreaming). THE EFFECTS OF INSUFFICIENT SLEEP Throughout his book, Walker explains many of the negative effects of insufficient sleep. Here are a few of the important points he touches on. • Based on numerous studies, a person’s ability to stay alert throughout the day decreases by 400% after only one night of no sleep. Similarly, someone who sleeps six hours a night over a period of 10 nights suffers a similar cognitive deficit as someone who skips sleep for a night. This means consistently losing just 1–2 hours of sleep a night over a period of time can have significant impacts on your brain function. • Many studies have proven that pulling an all-nighter before a test (something I am guilty of on many occasions) is never beneficial because of the ill effects of lack of sleep. You would be better served foregoing the all-nighter study session and getting a good night’s sleep before a test. • Studies show that consistently sleeping less than six hours a night may increase your risk of catching certain diseases by 300%. • Getting at least 7–8 hours of sleep every night can significantly decrease your risk of catching the common cold, flu, and even certain types of cancer by 40%.
“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested? Surprise, it’s sleep!”
–MatthewWalker, “Why We Sleep”
Who wouldn’t be interested in a treatment like this? It sounds almost too good to be true! The answer is nothing new, however, and probably something you and I take for granted … it’s sleep . Throughout my life, I have personally struggled to get enough sleep. When I was in undergraduate school at UNLV (go Rebs!), I had a full-time job as a valet at a local casino here in Las Vegas. I worked the graveyard shift — midnight to 8 a.m. — five days a week. Immediately after work, I would head to UNLV to attend classes. Aside from school and work, I also had a newborn daughter at home. I was busy and overwhelmed with school, work, and a young, growing family. Because of my full schedule, I struggled to get sufficient sleep for the three years I worked a graveyard shift; it was hard to find time to prioritize it. Many days, I would take a nap in the back of my Ford Bronco at UNLV between classes (I had a friend build a customized bean bag that would fit in the back of the Bronco so I wouldn’t have to sleep in the driver’s seat). Many of you probably have busy lives and find it difficult to find the time to get a good night’s sleep. Because of our hectic modern society, getting 7–8 hours of sleep can seem like a luxury we cannot afford. I felt that way for a long time until I read MatthewWalker’s book “Why We Sleep.” After reading his book and studying the science behind sleep, I now realize just how much physical damage I inflicted on myself in those three sleep-deprived years. In his book, Walker discusses the reasons we sleep and the repercussions to our body when we don’t get enough of this important and nourishing activity. I now prioritize sleep and encourage my family to do the same. Here’s why.
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