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The Importance of Sleep
One of nature's most underutilized resources.
By Courtney Krueger / www.TrainEatLive.com
The best things in life are free: love, friendship, family, and don’t forget the shared human hobby that everyone derives pleasure from...sleep! Everyone loves to sleep, and what gift is greater than a morning offering no snooze limitations? And what noise is more annoying than the beeping of your alarm, notifying you that a night’s rest has terminated and reality is inevitable. We all know that sleep is obviously good since we enjoy the act, and that it must be necessary otherwise we’d nod off behind the wheel or desk. But many of us fail to realize just how essential a full night of rest is to every function of our body. Yes, while in a whimsical slumber we can become anyone or anything, but in reality our unconscious bodies are becoming healthier, happier, smarter, and thinner. And no, this isn’t a dream! Wake up and smell the benefits of sleep!

Obviously sleep makes us more alert since it flushes out the toxins in our head that create those infamous brain farts. But, it can also strengthen our memory and cognitive function. While we are off in another land, our brain is very present, working hard to process sensory input and link together memories and images. It also improves our mood, which decreases our chances of getting in a road rage induced debacle on our drive to work. Speaking of our moods, adequate sleep can reduce our risk of depression by having a positive effect on our serotonin level. How can anyone be sad after a happy visit to dreamland?

Sleep is not only a remedy for our mental well-being, but it aids our physical health as well. When our bodies are sleep deprived, they go into a state of stress and inflammation can occur. This heightens health risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Also, sleep is a much needed time for our bodies to make natural and necessary repairs. While we snooze, our bodies produce more protein than when awake, and these molecules create a force and fight off our daily enemies such as environmental stresses, damaging ultraviolet rays, and other harmful pollutants. Sleep can also fight obesity, and getting the recommended 7-9 hours can work wonders for our waistline. Have you ever heard of ghrelin or leptin? Probably not, but they are the hormones that regulate our appetite, and sleep keeps these monsters under control. Now there’s a reason to hit the sheets!

Wow, your body likes sleep more than you thought! Never in your wildest dreams did you think that something so enjoyable could be so good for you! And at no cost! So tivo the 11 o’clock news, and get to bed early tonight. The clamor of the alarm will be less annoying, and you won’t be tempted to hit the snooze button!
 

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