Sleep is one of those things most teenagers do not have a hard time acquiring. They fall asleep well, and tend to get a lot of it.
But stress can be a concern at any age, and often with stress, comes a bout of sleeplessness. In addition, technology has a way of keeping our brains over-active all day and into the night, and it can become increasingly difficult to shut down once the evening hours roll around.
Ensuring our days are streamlined, and our nights are lined with a good nights sleep, is a juggling act that can often leave us lacking in vitamin zzz. And although one might give praise to technology for keeping our days supposedly “streamlined”, it is this same culprit (technology) that studies have shown is wreaking havoc on our sleep patterns.
For younger kids as well as teens, their “down time” might involve coming home after a long day of school and enjoying the entertainment of video games. Or for our more chatty female types, perhaps they can be found texting with friends post-school. Whichever the case, these seemingly “mindless” acts are actually very neurologically active activities, which makes it difficult to shut our brains off at night.
This constant interactivity with technology right up until bedtime, delays one’s body from producing melatonin …an essential hormone that aids in sleep.
Historically, humans have not always been reduced to an 8-hour sleep. It would seem they once slept in two, 3-5 hour periods. However, Western culture now calls for longer work hours, and increased productivity, which – ironically – is lacking in the efficiency our technology is suppose to be providing for us.
So although we push through our bio-rhythmic desire to take a mid-afternoon nap, our bodies still feel the desire for our natural two-phase sleep cycles of yesteryear.
Whether you are a student or a shift worked, a parent or a corporate professional, it is likely that you fall into the large-majority of the population who is sleep deprived. Left untreated, this can lead to a multitude of health problems.
As [link url=http://www.myorthodontists.ca/]dental professionals[/link] not only in the dental community, but the “health community” at large, we want to encourage you to shut down your electronic devices at least 1-hour before bed. Take this opportunity to read, and allow your mind to start its slow descent into slumber. Fixing your morning fatigue with a couple cups of coffee and an energy bar (unless it’s the one mentioned in our [link url=http://www.myorthodontists.ca/madukebulat_news.php?i=43]previous post[/link]!) is not the resolve we would like to see for our patients.
As hard as it might seem at first, this small act of kindness to your body will add better function to your day, and lasting power throughout. Don’t create a routine of sleep deprivation during the week and play catch up during the weekend; this is not the solution to shortchanging yourself on sleep during the week.
Take your sleep cycles seriously. It’s not the lazy mans treat, it’s an imperative part of a healthy mind/body balance …and we encourage you to take your vitamin zzz in FULL doses. Sweet dreams!