Sleep and Dreams

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Chapter 5. Sleep
Page 86

1. ■ if pulling an all-nighter is worth it?
1. ■ why it sometimes takes so long to fall asleep?
1. ■ if it's okay to exercise right before sleep?
Page 87
College students often have a reputation for missing early-morning classes or falling asleep in class. It doesn't necessarily mean that they've been out partying. Most young adults have a circadian rhythm—an internal daily cycle of waking and sleeping—that tells them to fall asleep later in the evening and to wake up later in the morning than older adults. These circadian rhythms, accompanied by a demanding college environment, make college students vulnerable to chronic sleep deprivation. Most adults need about 8 hours of sleep each night, but the typical college student sleeps only 6 to 7 hours a night on weekdays.1 Lack of sufficient sleep impairs academic performance. According to a survey by the American College Health Association, 23 percent of college men and 25 percent of college women rated sleep difficulties as the third major impediment (after stress and illness) to academic performance.2 Unfortunately, sleeping in on the weekends does not fully recapture lost sleep. Colleges and universities are exploring ways to help their sleep-deprived students. Duke University, for example, has eliminated classes that start before 8:30 a.m. Other colleges and universities are including programs on sleep and health as part of summer orientation for freshmen. According to the 2009 Sleep in AmericaPoll3 conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), many Americans are not sleeping enough to sustain optimum health. Of the poll's respondents—adults aged 18 to 54—72 percent reported sleeping less than 8 hours on weekdays, and 20 percent said they slept less than 6 hours. On average, the respondents reported sleeping about 6.7 hours on weekdays and 7.1 hours on weekends.3 Many people are unaware of the vital role that adequate sleep plays in good health. -------------------------------------------------

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Chapter 5. Sleep
Sleep and Your Health
Sleep is commonly understood as a period of rest and recovery from the demands of wakefulness. It can also be described as a state of unconsciousness or partial consciousness from which a person can be roused by stimulation (as distinguished from a coma, for example). We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, a fact that in itself indicates how important sleep is. HEALTH EFFECTS OF SLEEP

Sleep is strongly associated with overall health and quality of life. During the deepest stages of sleep, restoration and growth take place. Growth hormone stimulates the growth and repair of the body's tissues and helps to prevent certain types of cancer. Natural immune system moderators increase during deep sleep to promote resistance to viral infections. When sleep time is deficient, a breakdown in the body's health-promoting processes can occur. Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are often associated with serious physical and mental health conditions, including these: * Cardiovascular diseases (congestive heart failure, hypertension, heart attacks, strokes) * Metabolic disorders (diabetes mellitus)

* Endocrine disorders (osteoporosis)
* Immunological disorders (influenza)
* Respiratory disorders (asthma, bronchitis)
* Mental health disorders (depression, suicide)
* Overweight and obesity (the mechanism for this connection is still unknown) Sleeping less than 7 hours—sometimes called short sleep—increases the risk for negative health outcomes in both men and women. (Sleeping 10 hours or more—long sleep—has not been found to have negative health outcomes.) Studies strongly support the conclusion that...
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