GA Injury Advocate March 2019

HOW THE ART OF SLEEP HAS CHANGED OVER TIME

ARE YOU READY FOR FIDO?

There are few things in life that feel better than crawling into a comfy bed after a long day. Sleep is an essential part of human health. After a mere 24 hours of sleep deprivation, bodily functions and mental faculties start to go haywire, and 11 days seems to be the longest a person can live without sleep. While people acknowledge that sleep has always been a necessary part of human existence, very few know how drastically nightly routines have changed over time. Here are three significantly different historical approaches to sleep. BRAIN FLOODS For centuries, theorists associated sleep with blood loss and other health problems. But by the 1800s, notable physicians blamed sleep on a process known as congestion theory. In this theory, sleep was thought to be brought on by an overwhelming flow of blood to the brain, effectively flooding it and sending sleepers into a dreamlike state. SLEEP GAPS While many modern sleep experts support the consecutive eight- hour sleep regimen, historically, people had completely different sleep schedules. Medieval society actually had two sleep sessions a night — known as biphasic sleep — with a gap of wakefulness in between to eat, pray, talk, read, or write by candlelight. But by the 1920s, this practice of having two sleep sessions each night entirely receded from the social consciousness. Historians attribute this shift to innovations in artificial lighting and work schedules during the Industrial Revolution that required workers to stay up longer and sleep less. COZY BLANKETS Most people find it difficult to sleep without some kind of covering, like a blanket, over their bodies. While researchers of the past entertained the idea that blankets offer some kind of primal protection for sleepers, they now believe the coverings help with temperature regulation, as maintaining a comfortable body temperature is necessary for good sleep. However, according to a recent study conducted in Sweden, weighted blankets help with much more than just temperature. Due to the added pressure, weighted blankets provide deep pressure touch (DPT), which increases the body’s amount of serotonin — a chemical that helps decrease blood pressure and rapid heart rate. Because of the effects of increased serotonin, weighted blankets are believed to help with anxiety and insomnia. While sleep patterns may change over time, the human need for sleep will not. As you crawl into your bed tonight, take some time to think about the way your ancestors approached their nightly snooze sessions. It’ll put you to sleep faster than counting sheep.

HOW TO DECIDE IF YOUR FAMILY CAN CARE FOR A PET While we don’t know exactly why humans keep pets, one fact is certain: Millions of people love them. In fact, nearly 70 percent of households in the U.S. have a pet. But no matter what you see on your favorite dog Instagram accounts, keeping a pet isn’t endless playtime. Ask yourself the following questions before buying or adopting a furry companion. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO? Owning a pet can change your lifestyle. To start, you will have to consider the animal’s well-being when hosting events or taking vacations. You will also have to make room in your budget for pet- related expenses. Additionally, some animals can live for upward of two decades. Discuss how responsibilities will change as a pet ages and what your future will look like before making the commitment. DOES AN ANIMAL FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE? When choosing a pet for your family, gather research from animal experts and other pet owners. Calculate the cost of owning a pet, and evaluate how that animal will fit into your lifestyle. For example, dogs are one of the most high-maintenance and expensive animals to own, but they tend to be more involved in family life than a cat or a hamster. That said, your home’s size and location may make it better suited for a smaller pet, as many larger animals require more square footage and plenty of outdoor space. IS YOUR FAMILY READY? Every family is different, and it’s important to have an honest discussion about the implications of owning a pet. If you have kids, consider how much they will be able to contribute to such a responsibility. Another factor to consider is how much free time you have to spend with your pet; some animals require more attention than others. To avoid major conflict down the road, discuss care and responsibility plans as a family before welcoming an animal into your home. Keeping a pet can be a source of joy for your family, but it can also be a source of stress. Before making any major choice, talk to your family members and consider what owning a pet would mean for all of you.

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