Do you know a woman (or man) over 45 years old who tells you that she needs only about four or five hours of sleep each night, that she feels perfectly fine the next day and can function beautifully?
In the meantime, you don’t feel tip top unless you sleep at least seven hours, which has become increasingly harder to do. Night sweats one night. Worrying about mounting problems at work the next. Even when everything seems to be going just dandy, you toss and turn half the night!
If you answered yes to my question above, you might be envious of the ‘quick sleeper,’ but you shouldn’t be. Really. “Sleep is brain food,” says Dr. Partha Nandi, host of the syndicated television show, ASK DR. NANDI, and author of the upcoming book Ask Dr. Nandi: 5 Steps to Becoming Your Own Health Hero for Longevity, Well-Being, and a Joyful Life . “If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain, your immune system and your nervous system won’t function well. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep. If only you could see what happens inside your body without enough sleep. It actually can lead to a catastrophic end,” Dr. Nandi told me.
Our body is in a system of creation and repair all the time, Dr. Nandi explained. “Cells are living, cells are dying, new cells are being created. Sleep helps your body to repair the damage to it from everything happening during the day, and from toxins in the environment. Sleep gives you a nightly tune up of your brain, of your immune system, of your heart.
“If you don’t get the right sleep, your attention decreases. It takes you longer to do tasks. It’s harder to get things done. You’re more prone to infections; you even can’t drive as well. If you’re going constantly, and not giving your body a rest, your system can’t repair itself,” Dr. Nandi said.
Sleep deprivation has become a national epidemic, asserts the good doctor, who sat down with me to explain just why we’re sleeping less, and what we can do to reverse our habitual insomnia.
So, why are we sleeping less?
We were once an agricultural society. People used to work like mad, go home, collapse and go to sleep, then do it all over again the next day. Think about what’s happened in our lives. Now you get out of bed, you take a shower, sit down to breakfast, sit down in your car to go to work, sit down in your workplace chair for eight hours, sit down in your car again to drive home, sit down for dinner, sit down on your couch to watch TV. And, those who don’t go to work are sitting even more. There’s a theme here. We’re not doing anything, and that affects sleep.
Exercise plays a huge role in helping your body to function properly. It can be as simple as taking a long walk every single day. Doing some kind of movement is critical for maintaining your body’s equilibrium, and to have all the functions in your body work properly, including sleep.