Thursday, 2 June 2016

7 - Back to basics

This chapter looked at three basic needs we have as humans.

(1) Sleep. Sleep really is a basic human need. To find out just how crucial it is, check out this BBC documentary called Shattered: the need for sleep. Heres the link for part 1 - you can follow links to others if you want to see more.

One thing that is interesting is how sleep deprivation affects both our perception of what is going on around us, but also our emotions, When we are tired things feel much worse, and trigger a lot more emotion than usual.

Sleep deprivation affects other things too. In fact the impact on the brain is so serious that sleep deprivation has been implicated  in several serious disasters - including the Chernobyl explosion and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  Sleep deprivation has also been linked to some emotional and mental health disorders.

In spite of all the evidence showing how important sleep is, we continue to struggle to get enough. Very few adults actually get the average number of hours of sleep needed. In fact one researcher described as supremely arrogant the fact that we do not take seriously our need for enough sleep.

Think you really do need less sleep than average? It is true that some people seem to have a genetic mutation which means they need less - around 5 hours per night - but the vast majority of us are just average and need the usual 8-9 hours!

Need some help to improve your sleep? Check out these tips from the sleep foundation on what is called sleep hygiene - heres a Guardian article on the same thing.

By the way - if the thing that interrupts your sleep the most is your kids, its worth making the effort to deal with it. You might think that a couple of short interruptions in your night shouldnt make that much difference - but research shows that a few 10-15 min interruptions to your sleep pattern are as bad as losing half of your nights sleep. Its all to do with the impact it has on those all important deep sleep phases.

Want to read more about sleep? Heres a great article with 12 fascinating facts about sleep.

Refuel: How to balance work, life, faith and church - without burning out by Kate Middleton is available in paperback, priced £9.99. 

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