Sleep: An interesting story

When you’re in a hurry to do your work, go to school, look after family, do you reduce your sleep time?  You might think that sleep is merely a “down time” when the brain shuts off and the body rests. It is not so. Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

Sleep is as important as food and air. It is a necessary function required to support all human life, growth, development and brain function. Sleep keeps your mind alert and calm. It helps you in optimal daily functioning.

If you wake up tired after sleeping for eight hours or longer, more sleep is not what you need. 

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Heads Up! The Way You Are Sleeping May Be Killing You!

Every one of us has a mysterious double life.

For about two thirds of the time we are conscious beings, thinking about the world within and without, and negotiating our ways through the obstacles of life. For the other one third of the time we are nearly lifeless lumps of flesh, unconscious to everything but our own fantasies, as we lie flat in bed asleep. We all know that sleep is important for health. But for an activity that consumes about 8 hours of everyday of life, surprisingly little is thought about the act of sleeping, or the way our culture teaches us to sleep. Sleep behavior, like all human activities, is defined by our culture.

Sometimes, the practices taught by our culture can impact on the way our bodies function. As medical anthropologists, we research ways our cultural practices may be affecting our health. And we have found that the way we have been trained to sleep may be one of the most important causes of various diseases plaguing our society.

Of course, when you consider the culture of sleeping, it includes such isues as the length of time to sleep, and time of day for sleep. Do you take frequent naps or do you sleep 8 hours straight? Do you sleep at night or during the day?

Other issues concern sleepwear. Do you sleep nude, or with pajamas or lingerie? Do you sleep in your underwear? Should the sheets be natural fabrics, such as cotton or silk, or is polyester okay? What about the detergent and fabric softeners used in the sheets, pillow case, and pj’s?

Should you eat before you sleep? What is the impact of watching television before sleep? Should you take sleeping pills to help you sleep?

These are some of the culturally defined issues that help determine how we sleep, all of which may have some potential impact on health. However, there is one cultural issue that tops the list of importance, and which may greatly determine your health status.

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New Age Dawning: Breathe Well, Sleep Well, Age Well

Sleep May Not Be the Number One Factor In staying Young and Healthy “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” This short proverb can be traced as far back as 1496, and even earlier if you count all its variations. It seems that people have always understood the necessity of a good night’s sleep, but these days quality sleep has become a luxury rather than a necessity. But going without sleep may not be so easy since it’s not something your body can easily do without.